Heritage and tourism

Our historic market towns, cathedral cities and unspoilt countryside are the envy of the world. From our Norman castles to Battersea Power Station, our heritage is an important part of our vibrant tourist industry, which supports three million jobs and contributes £127 billion annually to our economy.

PUTTING HERITAGE AND TOURISM BACK ON THE MAP

‘Heritage’ was a dirty word in Labour’s ‘Cool Britannia.’ Tony Blair moved the Department of National Heritage into the Department for Culture, Media and Sport and marginalised tourism by lumping it in with the responsibilities of the Minister for Sports and Equalities.

The Conservatives’ bulldozer instincts kicked in when the Chancellor removed the zero rate of VAT on listed building repairs. Maintenance bills for over 400,000 of our most beautiful buildings, owned by a surprisingly diverse socio- economic group of people, were hiked by 20 per cent. Developers putting identikit houses on greenbelt land, meanwhile, paid no VAT.

UKIP will end this discrimination against our historic legacy by:

  • Creating a dedicated Minister of State for Heritage and Tourism, attached to the Cabinet Office
  • Ensuring tax and planning policies support historic buildings and the countryside
  • Removing VAT completely from repairs to listed building
  • Introducing a ‘presumption in favour of conservation’ as opposed to the current ‘presumption in favour of development’ in planning legislation.

THE GREAT BRITISH SEASIDE

Too many seaside destinations face pressing economic, social and housing issues. Old former large hotels that once sat grandly on our seafront have become houses of multiple occupation, or low-cost hostels. The result, ‘bedsit land,’ deters families, young professionals and retired people from moving to the area and deters business investment.

UKIP will fuel regeneration in coastal areas, transforming them into vibrant, growing communities by bestowing ‘Seaside Town Status’ to areas in need of regeneration. This will give Local Authorities the power to:

  • Access low-interest government loans to buy up and renovate poor housing stock and convert empty commercial properties into residential accommodation
  • Issue Compulsory Purchase Order powers for poor- quality multi-occupancy accommodation
  • Allow local authorities to introduce minimum standards for properties in receipt of housing benefit
  • Restructure local housing markets so they are not excessively driven by profits from housing benefit income
  • Refuse housing benefit payments to landlords in breach of planning legislation.

We will boost the Coastal Communities Fund and expand its remit to:

  • End the ‘scattergun’ approach, which sees funding allocated according to income from a particular area, rather than supporting nationwide regeneration
  • Prioritise larger-scale heritage, residential, retail and tourist regeneration over smaller scale projects
  • Encourage regenerative arts projects into our coastal towns.

UKIP’S SAVE THE PUB CAMPAIGN

We are very proud of our ‘Save the Pub’ Campaign!

The UK has lost 21,000 pubs since 1980, mostly as a result of taxation, regulation, the recent decline in disposable incomes and long-term cultural changes. The smoking ban and the alcohol duty escalator are estimated to be responsible for some 6,000 pub closures.

To reverse this trend we will:

  • Offer tax breaks to smaller breweries to encourage micro-breweries
  • Keep the current excise duty scheme that exempts from duty cider and perry made by small domestic producers
  • Oppose minimum pricing of alcohol and reverse plain paper packaging legislation for tobacco products.

Our history is the envy of the world. UKIP will keep it that way.