General Election 2015: Heritage (1)

In no particular order… Same five headings considered for each party. The other half coming tomorrow.




Heritage Policies

“The Alliance Party appreciates the importance of culture, arts, sport and leisure to a healthy and vibrant civil society. There are also considerable economic and social benefits to society as a whole.

Alliance is also particularly aware of the ability of culture, the arts and language to make a positive contribution to a shared future. Alliance supports the appreciation and expression of our rich and varied cultural identities. We believe that cultural participation and self-expression should be developed in the context of respect and understanding of our own and each other’s heritage.

Shared space need not be neutral space; it is not about pursuing some sense of sanitised territory that denies the ability of people to celebrate their culture. Alliance will create a vibrant culture in Northern Ireland by:

  • Providing adequate and long-term funding for the arts, including better use of lottery funding.
  • Promote Northern Ireland’s culture abroad to help develop our tourism industry.
  • Introduce a comprehensive language strategy which will support both languages in Northern Ireland, as well as other commonly used languages and sign language too.
  • Create a coherent museums policy to support Northern Ireland’s museums.
  • Investing in sports and sports infrastructure to promote a more active society and to use sport to build a shared future. This includes supporting a shared stadium for GAA, football and rugby.”


Buried in the website, difficult to search for, as searches not returned in recent date order:

Key Personnel

None given

Heritage Ethos

The heritage policies do seem straightforward, valuing heritage issues as part of social cohesion, language use, Northern Irish identity and benefits for tourism.

Under Alliance, heritage will…

Mean lots of people take the Game of Thrones tour and respect the complexities of our shared histories

And what’s that you’re saying about a decimation of arts and culture funding in NI? Nope, no idea what you mean…

Lorna Richardson

Labour Logo


Heritage Policies

There is little in Labour policy made available so far that specifically mentions heritage, but this depends on how you define it. If we consider heritage part of the Arts, then there is more to go on.

The focus for labour seems to be the Creative Economy. The Labour Arts Alliance state that they recognise the arts as enriching the lives of individuals and communities, as well as being important in economic policy. As such, Labour has announced that that they would put the Arts at the heart of government to improve access for young people to creative education. They assert that they will continue the work of the previous labour government in building world-class creative industries for Britain. Specifically for heritage, they pledge to widen free access to museums and galleries.

They say that local authorities have a key role in supporting arts and culture, to help address the imbalance in funding between London and the regions so that everyone can access culture regardless of income, background and location.

They also associate heritage with tourism and regeneration, calling for investment in tourism and heritage-led regeneration due to its economic impact in the regions. They say that DCMS spending must be strategic to support growth, innovation and investment.


The headline issues that labour present on their website do not mention heritage or culture.  A bit of searching brings up the articles on education and tourism described above and the Labour Arts Alliance website.

Key Personnel

Harriet Harman, Deputy Leader of the Labour Party and MP for Camberwell and Peckham is Shadow Culture Secretary in the current government.

Helen Goodman MP is Shadow Minister for Culture, Media and Sport

Julie Ward, MEP is the Member of the European Parliament Committee on Culture and Education

Heritage Ethos

Heritage isn’t a priority for the Labour Party. It’s associated with tourism and regeneration in the regions, and loosely with education.

Under Labour, heritage will be…

A supporting actor in the Arts and regeneration.

Nadia Marks



Heritage Policies

The Democratic Unionist Party associates heritage with tourism, and aims to boost the Northern Irish economy by attracting more visitors and doubling tourism revenue within a decade. They wish to promote a Northern Ireland ‘brand’ abroad and develop genealogical tourism. They will invest in tourism facilities, infrastructure and advertising. They do, however, describe heritage as a niche tourism area.

They wish to publish an official history of Northern Island for the province’s centenary.

They want to reduce the number of arms-length bodies associated with the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure.


A section on culture is situated within their main policy areas, easily accessible from the front page of their website.

Key Personnel

Nelson McCausland MLA, is Chair of the Culture, Arts and Leisure Committee

Gregory Campbell MP MLA is DUP spokesman on International Development and Culture, Media and Sport

Gordon Dunne MLA is Vice Chair of the Culture, Arts and Leisure Commitee

Heritage Ethos

Heritage isn’t mentioned much by the DUP.

Under the Democratic Unionist Party, heritage will be…

Kind of associated with tourism?

Nadia Marks



Heritage Policies

Plaid Cymru’s vision is for the Welsh language, history and landscape to be celebrated in order to preserve Welsh national identity. Nonetheless, they also recognise that culture is an area in which they can forge closer ties with Scotland and Ireland in order to better promote their nations.

They associate culture, media, heritage and sport with enjoyment, celebration, motivation, personal and community development. They support sustained funding for the Arts as far as possible, despite the economic situation, recognising both economic and intrinsic values to cultural activity.

They believe that every child ought to have a free of charge visit to one of the Welsh National Museums or Libraries during their school years and they pledge to create apprenticeships in historical documentation and culture to nurture skills in these areas.

They wish to retain the Royal Commission on Ancient Monuments as an arms-length body, and review the listing process in Wales. Their aim in this is to ensure that all heritage is protected and that there is greater focus on industrial and more recent heritage.


Culture and heritage are situated as one of a dozen key topics, easily accessible from the front page of their website. Arts, heritage and culture are discussed in the final section of their 2015 manifesto.

Key Personnel

Simon Thomas is Shadow Minister for Education, Skills and the Welsh language.

Bethan Jenkins is Assembly Member for Youth and Youth Unemployment, Arts, Heritage, Sport.

Heritage Ethos

Plaid Cymru’s heritage policies are focused on celebrating and maintaining Welsh national identity.

Under Plaid Cymru, heritage will be…


Nadia Marks



Heritage Policies

“From our Norman castles to Battersea Power Station, our heritage is an important part of our vibrant tourist industry, which supports three million jobs and contributes £127 billion annually to our economy.


‘Heritage’ was a dirty word in Labour’s ‘Cool Britannia.’ Tony Blair moved the Department of National Heritage into the Department for Culture, Media and Sport and marginalised tourism by lumping it in with the responsibilities of the Minister for Sports and Equalities. The Conservatives’ bulldozer instincts kicked in when the Chancellor removed the zero rate of VAT on listed building repairs. Maintenance bills for over 400,000 of our most beautiful buildings, owned by a surprisingly diverse socioeconomic group of people, were hiked by 20 per cent. Developers putting identikit houses on greenbelt land, meanwhile, paid no VAT. UKIP will end this discrimination against our historic legacy by: –

  • Creating a dedicated Minister of State for Heritage and Tourism, attached to the Cabinet Office
  • Ensuring tax and planning policies support historic buildings and the countryside
  • Removing VAT completely from repairs to listed building
  • Introducing a ‘presumption in favour of conservation’ as opposed to the current ‘presumption in favour of development’ in planning legislation.


Too many seaside destinations face pressing economic, social and housing issues. Old former large hotels that once sat grandly on our seafront have become houses of multiple occupation, or low-cost hostels. The result, ‘bedsit land,’ deters families, young professionals and retired people from moving to the area and deters business investment. UKIP will fuel regeneration in coastal areas, transforming them into vibrant, growing communities by bestowing ‘Seaside Town Status’ to areas in need of regeneration. This will give Local Authorities the power to:

  • Access low-interest government loans to buy up and renovate poor housing stock and convert empty commercial properties into residential accommodation
  • Issue Compulsory Purchase Order powers for poor quality multi-occupancy accommodation
  • Allow local authorities to introduce minimum standards for properties in receipt of housing benefit
  • Restructure local housing markets so they are not excessively driven by profits from housing benefit income
  • Refuse housing benefit payments to landlords in breach of planning legislation.

We will boost the Coastal Communities Fund and expand its remit to:

  • End the ‘scattergun’ approach, which sees funding allocated according to income from a particular area, rather than supporting nationwide regeneration
  • Prioritise larger-scale heritage, residential, retail and tourist regeneration over smaller scale projects
  • Encourage regenerative arts projects into our coastal towns.

Our history is the envy of the world. UKIP will keep it that way.”


Very easy to find the manifesto on the website and the heritage section was on page 51. Easy to understand:

Key Personnel

William ‘Bill’ Cash, UKIP Heritage Spokesman:

Heritage Ethos

The heritage policies do seem straightforward, valuing heritage issues as part of a tourism business philosophy and emphasising its role as a force for social cohesion through British identity.

Under UKIP, heritage will…

Create a thriving tourism economy, possibly by turning all archaeological sites into fantasy Tudor theme parks. People with fancy Grade 1 listed houses can now afford to have their double glazing done. Pubs.

Lorna Richardson



Hard to find heritage on the SNP website, so please see this email exchange instead:

Dear Ms Heydecker,
I was given your contact details by the Westminster office. I am trying to find the SNP policies towards heritage and archaeology, and wondered if you would be able to help by pointing me in the right direction? I have tried the website but I can’t find anything current.
Hope you will be able to advise, and thanks in advance for your help.
Kind regards,
Dr Lorna-Jane Richardson
Dear Dr Richardson,
Thank you for contacting the SNP regarding our policies towards heritage and archaeology. As most of these two areas are devolved, they are the responsibility of the SNP Scottish Government.
The SNP Scottish Government recognise the importance of heritage and archaeology, and have designated 2017 to be the Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology.
The SNP Scottish Government’s policy is to protect and preserve archaeological sites and monuments, and their settings, in situ wherever feasible. We believe that archaeological remains are a finite and non-renewable resource containing unique information about how Scotland’s historic and natural environments developed over time, contributing to our local, regional and national identities.
The SNP Scottish Government is committed to protecting and promoting Scotland’s heritage. We have established Historic Environment Scotland as the new lead body to take forward the government’s contribution to delivering Scotland’s first national strategy for the historic environment, Our Place in Time, to ensure our diverse historic environment is understood, valued, cared for, protected, enjoyed and enhanced – now and for future generations. Our Place in Time makes increasing participation in heritage a priority, especially among those who feel it is ‘not for me’ and there is a dedicated group established, with wide representation, to take this forward.
I hope this is helpful for you.
Kind Regards,
Rachel Heydecker
Policy Officer

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