National Trust for Scotland

Scottish Executive Question Time — Europe, External Affairs and Culture – in the Scottish Parliament at 2:15 pm on 16th September 2010.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Rob Gibson Rob Gibson Scottish National Party 2:15 pm, 16th September 2010

To ask the Scottish Executive what progress has been made toward modernising the National Trust for Scotland. (S3O-11333)

Photo of Fiona Hyslop Fiona Hyslop Scottish National Party

On 9 August 2010, George Reid published "Fit for Purpose: Report of the Strategic Review of the National Trust for Scotland". The Scottish Government welcomes the report and hopes that it will be a catalyst for change to help the trust to modernise and equip itself to move forward in its important role. The recommendations, particularly those relating to the trust's governance, will be considered by the members at next week's annual general meeting.

Photo of Rob Gibson Rob Gibson Scottish National Party

I thank the minister for her update and I note the progress on George Reid's report. One issue that has been raised is increasing the number of people who visit trust properties. Can we be assured that cross-ticketing between Historic Scotland and the National Trust for Scotland will apply and will be widely advertised?

Photo of Fiona Hyslop Fiona Hyslop Scottish National Party

The NTS and Historic Scotland discuss the joint ticketing arrangement regularly. It is not without its challenges. It is clear that cross-ticketing is of great benefit to customers and visitors, but the concern of the NTS and Historic Scotland is that income is not lost to all the partners that are involved. The homecoming pass is being extended for three years and its sales are being limited to key channels such as tour operators and other travel traders, to allow us to test the market further and assess the financial impact for the partners. Joint ticketing is also in place at Fort George and Culloden battlefield and at Threave castle and Threave house and gardens. Work continues to consider the opportunities for more local cross-ticketing, but it is important to get the finances correct. We can expand and improve the offer to customers and grow visitor numbers, but we must also ensure a regular income stream, which is vital to support the preservation, conservation and promotion of historic sites.

Photo of Ted Brocklebank Ted Brocklebank Conservative

As the minister knows, the National Trust for Scotland's major role is to conserve the best of Scotland's built heritage. Against that background, is it appropriate that the trust should use £5 million of its scarce financial resources to speculate on the development of warehouses in Bradford, Yorkshire?

Photo of Alasdair Morgan Alasdair Morgan Scottish National Party

That is probably a supplementary—just.

Photo of Fiona Hyslop Fiona Hyslop Scottish National Party

I have responsibility for many matters, and I am taking questions today on transport, tourism, volcanic ash and many other issues, but I must respect the National Trust for Scotland's independence. Ted Brocklebank can give his view on whether the investment was appropriate. The trust must exercise stewardship and invest for the wellbeing and conservation of the properties that have been left in trust to it. Such a matter is for the trust. If Ted Brocklebank has concerns about that investment, he should approach the trust's board and management.