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Heritage groups campaign for more government cash

The heritage sector has upped the ante in its campaign to win more cash from the government in the forthcoming Comprehensive Spending Review (CSR), despite reports that ministers are not planning any kind of funding hike.

A group of heritage organisations have issued a report showing that less is spent per head on historic buildings in this country than in other European countries such as the Netherlands and Germany.

Figures produced by the joint group - which comprises Heritage Link, English Heritage (EH, the National Trust, Historic Houses Association and the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) - show that there is a backlog of over £1 billion in outstanding repairs at listed places.

Both the comments and stats can be found in a new report, Valuing our Heritage.

Appealing to ministers ahead of the CSR later in the year, Anthea Case, Heritage Link chairman, said there was a growing crisis.

'Over 17,000 buildings are at risk in England alone despite the money already committed to maintenance by private owners and public support.

'But HLF awards are down 15 per cent in real terms over the last two years, and EH has seen its spending fall by £19.6 million in real terms over the last five years.

'This report seeks to remind ministers of the economic, social and educational benefits of maintaining the built heritage and sets out ways in which government can make a difference.'

by Ed Dorrell

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