Culture White Paper setting out government’s ambition for cultural sectors is launched

The first Culture White Paper on the arts, museum and heritage in more than 50 years has been launched by the government, and has been described by Culture Minister Ed Vaizey MP as a "bold new vision" for culture.

It is the only the second arts white paper ever to be published, and aims to improve social mobility and boost access to the arts, heritage and culture across the country.

Ian Harvey, Executive Director for Civic Voice said “We know from our experience working with communities across England that the historic built environment is a unique asset. Local communities have a central role to play in how we can make the most of our local heritage and how we can best manage the change in our historic environment. Heritage tourism accounts for 2% of GDP, contributing £26 billion per year so we are pleased that new funding is being made available via the Architectural Heritage Fund to advise communities on how they can best make use of their historic buildings, including taking ownership of them.”.

Some of the headlines from the White Paper include:
1. Confirming that 12 Heritage Action Zones will be launched in England
2. Requesting that the heritage sector will be to build on the foundations of successful programs such as the Heritage Lottery Fund’s Young Roots program to create more opportunities for young people outside formal education settings to enjoy and learn about heritage or to lead heritage social action.
3. We will provide £20 million across 2016-17 and 2017-18 to extend the First World War Centenary cathedral repairs fund and establish a review to examine how church buildings and cathedrals in England can become more financially sustainable.
4. Implementing a tailored review of the Arts Council England and the Heritage Lottery Fund during 2016/17.
5. And finally carrying out a review of museums in England.

Ian Harvey finished by saying “The White Paper fully embraces heritage as an essential part of the Government’s vision for making culture accessible to the many and not just a few. For the civic movement, it is pleasing to see that there is a firm recognition of the role heritage plays through regeneration and growth in supporting jobs, skills and tourism in making our towns, cities and communities better places to live.  We look forward to discussing the Culture White Paper in due course with our members".