BEFS COVID-19 Update

BEFS Is Providing Weekly Updates On COVID-19 Information Relevant For The Built Environment Sector.

BEFS Historic Environment Working Group met last week and agreed there is a need to prepare for the medium and long-term consequences that will likely arise from the COVID-19 lockdown. The global economy finds itself in uncharted territory and therefore forecasting the future scenario is nigh on impossible, and you can take you pick from the plethora of opinions currently being floated, hopeful and apocalyptic. The one consistency appears to be the belief that pre-existing trends are likely to be accelerated.

The National Trust for Scotland has confirmed a dramatic loss of income, preparing for significant redundancies and considering the disposal of assets. Historic Environment Scotland anticipated raising almost 60% of its £100m 2020-21 budget through visitor activity, this would now appear to be impossible. The impact on smaller organisations without their scale nor access to government is likely to be similar, if not worse.

The immediate financial impact of lock-down on jobs is being dealt with through provisions made by the UK and Scottish Governments along with other funders. The Scottish Tourism Alliance is making an excellent case for an industry that heritage depends on. But the changed economic outlook, anticipated change in public behaviour and use of physical space have longer-term implications for the financing, use and maintenance of Scotland’s heritage.

At the request of the OPiT CEO Group, BEFS Members have agreed the need to collaboratively plan what the strategic response to the medium to long-term issues must be, while making explicit that the heritage sector can be resilient, sustainable, and beneficial participants in Scotland’s national recovery.

BEFS has therefore established the COVID Historic Environment Resilience Forum (CHERF), chaired by Prof Ian Baxter, and it will be exploring the five strands initially identified in weekly sessions. Dates, times and details of how to contribute will be in the subsequent bulletin and BEFS look forward to your participation.

We have updated our COVID-19 Funding Advice page with recent developments.

BEFS will be providing these short updates weekly when relevant information for the built environment sector becomes available, in addition to the fortnightly bulletin.