Future of English Heritage

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 4:03 pm on 2nd April 2014.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Ed Vaizey Ed Vaizey The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport 4:03 pm, 2nd April 2014

I am taking back the floor. The point is that English Heritage, as now, will be the saviour of last resort. That is the point I am making. People see the change in English Heritage as meaning that any future problems will somehow be the result of the change in the structure. English Heritage is able to take, as an owner of last resort, a property that is threatened. There are a whole host of factors that come into play, one of which will be financing. If a property were to come up now, English Heritage might find that it did not have the financing. That would be a straightforward point.

Nothing will change under the new model. English Heritage will still be, potentially, the owner of last resort. A whole range of factors, depending on the particular situation, will influence whether it chooses to step in. As the hon. Lady knows, when it becomes the owner of last resort, English Heritage tries to move the property on. Sometimes it will stay in the national collection, but often English Heritage will want to put it back with a different owner to continue its future.

I have only got a minute left, but I want to make a simple and straightforward point. Change is happening, but the fundamentals will not change. Historic England will continue its brilliant role as the steward of our wide historic environment. It will continue to list, it will continue to research and it will continue to support the hon. Member for Darlington and other hon. Members who care about heritage. The national charity will, under a licence from Historic England, manage the properties, which will still be owned by the Government.