£5 million boost for HMS Victory

Speech by Culture Secretary Maria Miller announcing a £5 million boost for HMS Victory,

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

The Rt Hon Maria Miller

Thank you Lincoln, for that kind introduction, and for hosting us here at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard.

I was keen to come to Portsmouth today for many reasons, but as the birthplace of Charles Dickens, one never fails to be struck by the way philanthropy and literature flourished during the Victorian era. Dickens’ relationship with Angela Burdett-Coutts is intriguing. In hoping that we can inspire philanthropy in the next generation, I have often heard the question “How can we inspire the next Andrew Carnegie?” But for me – as the Minister for Women - an equally valid question is “How can we inspire the next Angela Burdett Coutts?”

While she and Dickens are well-known for having established “Urania” as a home to help fallen women, her charitable acts were quite remarkable in their range and generosity. As well as building schools and churches, she funded drinking fountains for dogs, social housing, the first archaeological survey of Jerusalem (in order to improve its sanitation), soup kitchens for the poor, training for nurses, free milk for children and the church bells of St Paul’s Cathedral, and a bewildering array of other causes. It’s no wonder Dickens dedicated Martin Chuzzlewit to her. There may never be another author to stand comparison with Dickens, but we need more philanthropists like Angela Burdett-Coutts.

It is a privilege to be the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport. The areas for which I have responsibility are those which affect the quality of life of every person in the country, and those which affect the way Britain is perceived in the world. Having been lucky enough to have just visited the Mary Rose and HMS Victory, I am obviously reminded of Britain’s Maritime Heritage, but also of the work which goes on across the country to conserve our heritage for future generations. Advances in technology enable us – some of you in the audience – to bring history to life for young people, and to support the tireless work of teachers in schools across the country.

There is also a strong sense of teamwork here at the Historic Dockyard, including through the volunteers, which has an echo of last year’s Olympics and Paralympics, where the volunteers deserved medals just as much as the athletes. All across the country, every day of the year, volunteers support our cultural institutions selflessly. In doing so, they enhance the experience of visitors from all over the world who are drawn to the UK by our arts and our heritage.

In 2012, 31 million foreign visitors to the UK spent £18.6 billion. That is good news for the British economy, but we want to increase that further, to 40 million visitors. And I want those visitors to come to Portsmouth. Not all of them! But many more than at present. I am told that the Historic Dockyard is anticipating up to half a million visitors this year. That is good news for jobs and for the local economy.

Some commentators appear to wish that culture and money could exist independently of each other, and that to talk of the economy alongside culture is somehow vulgar. But the reality is that culture drives economic benefits, just as much as culture needs public investment:

  • Investment is needed for the creation and dissemination of great art to flourish, and to enhance our quality of life.
  • Investment is needed for the preservation of our cultural heritage.
  • Investment is needed to ensure that access to culture remains universal, not a privilege accorded only to some in society.
  • Investment is needed to protect freedom of artistic expression.
  • And investment is needed to ensure the UK is equipped to maintain our international reputation for excellence, as other countries seek to use culture to attract visitors and investment.

These are eternal verities, but as we continue to address the challenges of global economic turbulence, they have a particular resonance today. They also point towards the rationale for public investment in culture, in which I continue to believe strongly.

But as Culture Secretary, and while I would be delighted to focus on the intrinsic value of culture, the Government as a whole must prioritise economic growth, ensure the reduction of the national deficit, and balance the books. I want to help culture thrive across every region of England. And I want everyone in the country to appreciate the intrinsic value of culture. But culture matters to our economic growth. Both through our creative industries – which mean jobs, exports and inward investment, and through the tourism, which is seeing record spending levels in the UK. “Culture means Business”, as the British Council’s recent report illustrates. I rehearsed my rationale for focusing on the economic value of culture in a recent speech at the British Museum.

Of course the intrinsic value of culture is just as important. But this is not an either/or situation. Both matter. But the reality is that every member of the Cabinet has to deal with the economic reality we face, and it would be neglectful not to address that. I have done so throughout the current Spending Review.

That process continues, and the Chancellor will announce details of the overall settlement for all Government Departments next week. But I can confirm that the Treasury has recognised the value of culture, and consequently funding for the arts and museums will be reduced by just five per cent. This is a significantly better outcome than many may have expected.

My message to the culture sector is that I will continue to make the case for public investment in culture, but it would be prudent to continue to strengthen your financial resilience, by diversifying your income streams as far as possible.

I want to ensure that our arts and heritage are able to flourish across the entire country, not just in London and other large cities. So I welcome initiatives such as the Arts Council’s strategic touring programme, which is investing £45 million in supporting collaboration between organisations, so that more people across England experience and are inspired by the arts, particularly in places which rely on touring for much of their arts provision.

I appreciate that many cultural leaders across the country are already seeking to reduce their dependency on public subsidy, whether from central Government, through the Arts Council, or local government. Many of you are being highly entrepreneurial in exploring new avenues of income generation and commercial activity, and that is to be welcomed.

In this context, I want to help the cultural sector to become financially resilient, and to diversify your sources of income in a way which will enable you to flourish, to realise your potential, and to leave a cultural legacy for which our children, and future generations, will thank us. There are many ways to do so, and there is no one-size-fits-all model.

With hindsight, previous Governments should have taken the opportunity to encourage philanthropy in what may now seem to have been times of relative plenty. It may seem regrettable that they did not do so. But this does NOT mean that I am interested in philanthropy solely as a means to offset cuts in public expenditure. That is one of the myths which I want to put to bed today.

I want to pay tribute to Jeremy Hunt for putting philanthropy at the heart of his agenda for culture, and for all he did to encourage more giving to culture, and to strengthen fundraising in the cultural sector. There was a great deal of scepticism about his drive to establish endowments in the cultural sector, and questioning of the establishment of the Catalyst programme.

That scepticism seems misplaced now. Demand for Catalyst endowment grants has exceeded all forecasts.
The first tranche of Catalyst Endowment grants alone awarded £56 million to 34 organisations. When those match-fundraising campaigns have been completed, that investment will have raised at least a further £106 million of new money from private donors.

Both the Mary Rose Trust and the HMS Victory were awarded Catalyst Endowment grants, and I was delighted to hear about their plans this morning.

But the Catalyst programme is not just supporting the development of endowments. It is already helping 500 cultural organisations across the country to strengthen their ability to fundraise, to cultivate donors, and to boost philanthropy through match funding.

I want to offer my profound thanks to everyone who already supports our arts and heritage, whether as donors or volunteers. All over the country, people’s willingness to give to good causes is quite remarkable. Last month, we announced that a set of exquisite gold and peridot jewellery commissioned for the wedding of Princess Charlotte in 1816 was at risk of leaving the country. However, I am delighted to announce today that donors have already come forward to match the price of £150,000, and the jewellery will now be acquired by the V&A, and saved for the nation in perpetuity.

My desire to ensure that the arts have everything in place that can enable them to flourish in the regions is essential. Real action can now be seen – the first gift has recently been made under the new Cultural Gifts Scheme.
For the very first time, living donors can now be encouraged to support our public collections by donating pre-eminent objects to museums and galleries in return for a proportionate tax reduction. The first gift was made by Hunter Davies, who has donated original Beatles lyrics and letters to the British Library, and I am very grateful to him for showing the way.

The new scheme sits alongside the immensely successful Acceptance in Lieu scheme, which will continue to enable inheritance tax to be offset in return for gifts to the nation. I understand Admiral Nelson’s armchair from HMS Victory is one of the many objects acquired under the AIL scheme.

The Treasury is pursuing ways of simplifying the process, and making it easier to administer, particularly for smaller charities, so I would urge you all to continue to make maximum use of Gift Aid.

Matthew, Peter and Roland are here today because we identified three particular elements of the philanthropy agenda where we wanted to ensure Government policy will support the cultural sector, small bodies and large alike, across the entire country.

  • How can we boost legacy giving in the cultural sector?
  • How can we address the challenges of philanthropy and fundraising outside London?
  • And how can we harness the immense opportunities which digital technology affords us, to encourage higher levels of giving to culture? Roland, Peter and Matthew have put real thought into these reports and I want to thank them all for their efforts and this contribution to the debate.

In a moment I will ask Roland, Peter and Matthew to speak about their recommendations.

But first I might just offer a couple of thoughts

On Roland’s report, “Removing Barriers to Legacy-Giving”. I was struck by how many people still don’t make wills at all. That is quite shocking. But only seven per cent (7%) of the population currently leave a legacy to charity.

  • When it is done well, legacy giving can be a hugely important source of revenue for cultural bodies. Last year alone, the National Trust received over £44 million from legacies. As with endowments, this is not a strategy which bears such fruit immediately, but I am told by the experts that even for smaller organisations, a legacy scheme established today could be expected to yield income within four years.

  • Peter Phillips’ report, Philanthropy Beyond London, is immensely important, because it illustrates that not only is it possible to encourage philanthropy outside London, it is already happening. And of course it is happening right here in Portsmouth, with the Mary Rose and HMS Victory leading the way. It’s happening in Manchester, in Leeds, in Folkestone and in Bristol. This is why I wanted to make this speech here today. Because philanthropy CAN flourish across the country, when donors are properly cultivated.

  • Some cultural bodies are exemplary at this; others have a long way to go.

  • Matthew Bowcock’s report is entitled “Democratising Philanthropy”, which strikes me as very apt. I think some people just think about philanthropy as something for the very wealthy. But every single pound given to culture matters. We have seen the potential impact of mass low-level giving through, for example, the campaign to save the Staffordshire Hoard. And there is a broad swathe of society – the mass affluent – who can be encouraged to support the arts and heritage. Everyone in society can be a philanthropist.

  • The zest with which young people engage with digital mobile technology provides the opportunity to inculcate a life-long passion for giving in the next generation. It also offers immense potential to boost tax-effective small donations, whether it is through the Donate scheme, textgiving, crowdfunding or the proliferation of other digital channels

In all three areas, the reports and recommendations helpfully look towards creating a sustainable funding model for the future.

I’d like now to pass over to Roland, Peter and Matthew.

Thank you

Published 21 June 2013