We can now share with you a response from the Heritage Lottery Fund to the news that the bill for the Olympics has risen to 9.35 billion. Their statements says:
‘This is bad news for the UK’s heritage’, comments Dame Liz Forgan, Chair, Heritage Lottery Fund. ‘Our grant making for the foreseeable future will now be seriously reduced, affecting people right across the United Kingdom. In recent years our Lottery money has been the single largest source of support not only for our historic places, museums and galleries but also for our natural heritage and the cultural history of the people of these islands. Heritage funding was already due to drop because of the Olympics and this further cut will impact on our ability to invest in the nation’s heritage at exactly the time it is being showcased to the world in 2012.’
The Heritage Lottery Fund will now begin to revise its forward funding plans with a view to letting clients know as soon as possible what its revised forecasts for annual levels of grant-making are for 2008 onwards.
Projects which have already received a promise of funding from the HLF need not be concerned: the Fund will work to ensure that commitments can be honoured.
Heritage Link issued a statement today which gave more specific numbers.
It means a raid of £90m from the HLF and comes on top of already reduced funding after 2008, when HLF’s current £290m per year drops to £180m. This further reduction of £90m is the equivalent of four years’ spend on small community and voluntary sector grants and the entire grant stream aimed at involved young people.
They went on to urge the government to put its money where its mouth is:
The announcement also comes just a week after the Prime Minister’s speech at Tate Modern when he recognised the contribution that arts and culture make to the economy, society and to the country. In the same week, the new Heritage White Paper2 published by the Department for Culture Media and Sport made key statements on the value of heritage. The Government has recognised the contribution made by volunteers in ring-fencing Big Lottery money but seems to have forgotten the tens of thousand of volunteers that care for our heritage.
Full statement here.