Culture, Media and Sport Committee

Session 2004-05

17 March 2005

New Publication

Fourth Report

Maritime Heritage and Historic Ships

The Culture, Media and Sport Committee today, Thursday 17 March, publishes its Fourth Report, Maritime Heritage and Historic Ships (HC 296) at 10.00am.

The nation’s maritime heritage is being neglected.  It does not benefit from the same attention or resources that are directed at Britain’s heritage on land. While the Committee welcomes the Government’s recent commitment to establish a new Ships Unit to oversee the sector, it is not convinced that the Unit, with its paltry budget, will be equipped to save more of the nation’s historic fleet.  The Committee calls for increased funding for the Unit, additional direct grant-in-aid for ships in the Core Collection and for English Heritage to reconsider its abandonment of the sector. 

The Chairman of the Committee, Sir Gerald Kaufman MP, commented that: “Britain’s maritime heritage is an integral part of our history. Urgent action is needed before we lose many examples of the historic fleet to decay or scrap through lack of resources.”

Publication of the Committee’s Report coincides with SeaBritain 2005: a year long festival of events aimed at exploring all aspects of the nation’s rich and diverse maritime heritage.  It is hoped that this year of celebration together with the publication of this Report will help raise the profile of historic ships and ensure they receive the recognition they deserve.

 Copies of the report will be available from 10.00am from the Press Gallery and the Reception at No.7 Milbank. The report will also be available via the parliamentary website from 3pm today; details of the website are set out below: