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Cultural Heritage

Volume 472: debated on Monday 3 March 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport (1) what progress has been made towards his Department’s public service agreement target to increase significantly the number of people from priority groups visiting designated historic environment sites; and if he will make a statement; (187350)

(2) what estimate he has made of the number of people aged under 16 years and above (a) from black and minority ethnic groups, (b) with a limiting disability, (c) from lower socio-economic groups and (d) in total who visited designated historic environment sites in each year for which figures are available.

The DCMS ‘Taking Part’ survey is being used to measure progress against this Public Service Agreement.

The most recent results published in December 2007 are in the table. They provide a comparison between the baseline figures and the second year results of the survey. The statistics show no significant change from year 1 to year 2.

The historic environment indicator is defined as at least one attendance at a designated site during the past 12 months.

Percentage

Year 1

Year 2

Black and minority ethnic

50.7

48.3

Limiting disability

59.5

60.2

Lower socio-economic

57.1

57.3

All adults

69.9

69.3

We are working closely with the cultural sector’s strategic delivery bodies—Arts Council England, English Heritage and the Museums Libraries and Archives Council—to ensure that we maximise our impact on increasing participation rates.

These bodies deliver through a range of programmes and initiatives with cultural organisations at regional and local level. This includes: investment in programmes such as Renaissance in the Regions, which has seen visits to local museums and galleries by people from the PSA3 priority groups up by over 30 per cent. since 2002-03; free admission to formerly charging sponsored museums in England—where attendance has gone up by 98 per cent. since 2001; record investment in Arts Council England’s regularly funded organisations of £326 million this year; and Heritage Open Days, the annual English Heritage-funded scheme run by the Civic Trust, in which over 35,000 volunteers share their knowledge and memories with up to 1 million visitors every year, making this England’s largest voluntary cultural event.