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Britain must maximise heritage value ahead of Brexit, says government report

By Tom Anstey    05 Dec 2017
Britain's heritage is a big draw for overseas tourists / Shutterstock.com

The British government has spelt out plans to maximise the UK's heritage assets as preparations continue to leave the European Union (EU).

The government’s annual Heritage Statement calls Britain a “world leader in heritage and cultural protection and in heritage science and research”, with millions visiting the UK to experience its culture and history.

“We will take account of the needs and interests of the heritage sector in the negotiations to leave, and establish a new relationship with the EU,” said the report.

It said consideration would be taken over “future migration arrangements and potential funding schemes”.

A recent report by Historic England revealed that heritage tourism in England is worth up to £16.4bn (US$22.2bn, €18.6bn) in annual visitor spend, with the sector directly employing 278,000 people and contributing £11.9bn (US$16.1bn, €13.5bn) gross added value to the economy.

In its Heritage Statement, the government said it would work on increasing this figure, using initiatives such as its £40m (US$53.7m, €45.3m) Discover England Fund and collaborating with VisitBritain to encourage increased and repeat visits to the UK through heritage.

“We need to focus our investment to protect, conserve and enhance our heritage where it delivers the greatest benefits today and in the future,” said John Glen, Britain’s minister for Arts, Heritage and Tourism at the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS).

“We must maximise the power of our heritage as an asset to our international outlook and use it to promote our country around the world.

“This statement is a reaffirmation of the government’s commitment to support the heritage sector and to help it protect, maintain and promote our heritage and ensure that it remains vibrant and relevant in the 21st century.”

Heritage  DCMS  John Glen  Heritage Statement  Department for Digital  Culture  Media and Sport 
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