It is a pleasure, as Heritage Minister, to respond to the debate on behalf of Her Majesty’s Government. I offer my sincere thanks to my hon. Friend Jack Brereton for securing the debate, and to all the hon. Members who have given their valuable input.
Our heritage is a vital resource for this country. It gives places their character and individuality. We know from research that the density of heritage assets is highly and positively related to the concentration of firms in a local economy, and that distinctive and characterful working spaces are a pull factor for businesses. It seems counter-intuitive to some people, but high-tech modern businesses function well, and their staff enjoy working, in heritage buildings. Those buildings are a tremendous draw to any area. It is estimated that creative and cultural industries are 29% more likely to be found in a listed building than in a non-listed building in England, so we should look after and value our listed buildings, and recognise them for the assets that they are. In 2017, the heritage sector alone provided estimated total gross value added of £29 billion, which is equivalent to 2% of national GVA.