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10.03.2017

Spring Budget And Conservation: At A Glance

Yesterday the Chancellor of the Exchequer announced his Spring Budget

Several details from within this budget could potentially affect the heritage sector and conservation. The Heritage Alliance has produced a detailed summary of the points within the proposals which will be of concern to those working within heritage, conservation and restoration.

Key points

  • Creation of a £5 million fund to celebrate the centenary of women winning the right to vote
  • The appointment of a Government representative to help organise celebrations of the 400th anniversary of the Mayflower crossing the Atlantic in 1620
  • A focus on improving education, including the announcement of T-Levels to provide 16-19 year olds with high quality qualifications in technical skills. The government is also providing more loan support for Doctoral study as well as funding over 1000 PhDs in the industrial sector.
  • The Budget for the Department for Culture, Media and Sport is planned to remain at £1.4 billion in 2017-18 before increasing to £1.5 billion in 2018-19 and 2019-20. However, funding for the Local Government aspect of DCLG will fall significantly from a planned £8.2 billion in 2016-17 to just £5.4 billion by 2019-20. The Communities aspect of DCLG will see a less marked fall from an estimate of £2.6 billion in 2016-17 to £2.2 billion in 2019-20.
  • The Government will also consult on extending the scope of Landfill Tax to illegal waste disposal. The objects of the fund allow money to go towards, among other things, restoring places of religious worship or buildings of historic or architectural interest and improving public parks or other public amenities.
  • Corporation Tax relief for museums and galleries. As announced at Budget 2016, the Government will legislate in the Finance Bill 2017 to introduce a new tax relief for museums and galleries who develop new exhibitions.

Business Rates

The budget also included changes to business rates, which will lead to some small businesses facing a severe hike. According to the most recent membership survey, 30% of Icon members are self-employed. As such, these changes to business rates could potentially have an adverse effect on a large number of conservators, especially those working in London. Alongside these changes, the government has announced £300 million to allow English local authorities to provide discretionary relief to individual hard cases in their local area and support for small businesses losing Small Business Rate Relief to limit increases in their bills to the greater of £600 or the real terms transitional relief cap for small businesses each year.

We would like to encourage any members who have concerns about the change in business rates to contact arichmond@icon.org.uk as soon as possible so that Icon can make accurate representations about how the changes will affect conservators.  

Lead Image:  Giants Causeway ; Stefan Klopp (creative commons)

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