Fiona Hyslop, Cabinet Secretary for Culture and External Affairs in the Scottish Government (SG), delivered a keynote speech at the IHBC summer school in Edinburgh that included a heartfelt statement on the government response to the recent Glasgow School of Art (GSA) fire as well as an impressive thanks to the IHBC for its contributions to recent developments in Scotland’s heritage policies and legislation.
The Scottish government writes:
The Scottish Government’s immediate response to The Glasgow School of Art fire underlines this government’s commitment to Scotland’s ‘precious’ historic environment….
Speaking at the annual conference of the Institute of Historic Building Conservation in Edinburgh, Ms Hyslop highlighted the government’s swift action to partner The Glasgow School of Art in leading the retrieval operation, galvanise support and expertise from specialists across the culture and heritage sector and offer financial assistance in the wake of the blaze. ??She also reaffirmed the Scottish Government’s strong vision to ensure the historic environment is even better understood, protected and celebrated.
Ms Hyslop said: ’This Government is very ambitious for the historic environment. We value heritage for its own sake and for all the benefits it brings to people and their wellbeing. We equally recognise its importance in securing economic, social and cultural benefits through promoting skills development and in driving innovation.
’That is why I worked very hard to protect Historic Scotland’s external grants programme, which remains at around £14.5 million until March 2015.
‘Our strong ambitions led to the development of Scotland’s first strategy for the historic environment – ‘Our Place in Time’ – which sets out a vision to produce tangible benefits for our precious resource and ensure it is even better understood, protected and celebrated.
‘More recently, our commitment to the historic environment was evident in our coordinated response to the devastating fire at The Glasgow School of Art. Historic Scotland, the Royal Commission for Ancient and Historic Monuments Scotland (RCAHMS) and the National Records of Scotland dispatched teams of specialists to offer technical, logistical, survey, archive and conservation advice and support. Our national collections and other cultural organisations are also playing an important role in the recovery operation.
’This collective response culminated in an announcement by the First Minister of a package of support for The Glasgow School of Art’s Mackintosh Building Fire Fund, and additional support for any longer-term funding requirements for building recovery and restoration.
’These actions demonstrate the very high esteem in which this government holds its precious historic environment. With independence, Scotland would have a range of new opportunities, bringing new powers over the economy; new leverage over UK heritage funding in Scotland; and increased international representation.’