Part of English Heritage is to become an independent charity by 2015, the government announced today.
The government’s Spending Round 2013, published today, says the government plans to consult English Heritage on establishing a charity to look after the National Heritage Collection, which consists of the 420 historic sites, monuments and collections managed by English Heritage.
English Heritage will receive £80m from the government to support the move. The new charity, which will be set up by March 2015 and will keep the name English Heritage, will then become self-financing and will no longer be afforded taxpayer support.
A statement from English Heritage said it planned to transfer its management of the National Heritage Collection to the new charity, which would be licensed by English Heritage’s governing body.
English Heritage’s planning and heritage protection responsibilities, known for an interim period as the National Heritage Protection Service, will be separate from the new charity and funded by government.
The heritage protection service will be run by the governing body, appointed by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport. Maria Miller, Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, said: "Charitable status will give English Heritage the dual freedom to grow, develop and raise funds for the National Heritage Collection of historic sites, while allowing the National Heritage Protection Service to concentrate on providing impartial, expert advice."
The spending round document also included plans for a four-year pilot to increase the operational freedom of museums "to help the sector thrive and continue to become more financially self-reliant", the document says.
"This will enable national museums to take independent decisions on issues such as pay and procurement, and to access finance to unlock new projects, commercial revenues and philanthropic donations," the spending round document says.
National museum funding will be cut by 5 per cent, while the DCMS will have its budget cut by 7 per cent, from £1.4bn in 2014/15 to £1.2bn in 2015/16, the document says.
English Heritage currently receives 65 per cent of its funding from the DCMS, which has overall responsibility for heritage policy in England. In 2011 an independent charity, the English Heritage Foundation, was set up to raise money for the National Heritage Collection sites.