North Wiltshire MP, James Gray, stood up to HM Government yesterday in the debate over the future of Burlington House, home of the Society of Antiquaries, Geological Society, Linnean Society and the Royal Astronomical Society.
Burlington House was built for the Societies, providing the foundation for success as a world-leading bodies. The central and easily accessible area, close to business and government, has been essential for the facilitation of expert debate and joint-working through the past 150 years. Together the Societies represent a unique, distinctive ‘cultural quarter’ where the common focus on public benefit means that together the Courtyard Societies are more than the sum of their parts.
In 2019, PwC completed an analysis on the contribution the Societies made to the “economic, scientific, social and cultural well-being of the UK through [their] range of activities and programmes”. The analysis concluded the total gross value of the four societies was £47,368,500 per annum.
Mr Gray spoke out in the Westminster Hall debate yesterday afternoon, stating that:
“…the Government have concluded that the building is a valuable asset that they own, and which they can therefore sell or otherwise maximise income from it. That is the wrong presumption. That building was not set up as a Government asset, which could be subsequently sold. It was set up to be the home of the learned societies.
“I would like to think that the Government will consider not bleeding the assets, which is what they are effectively trying to do, whether through rent or another way. We should not be bleeding the assets; they are cultural and historic assets and they should belong to and be preserved by the nation.
“We need a Government who will say, “This is an asset to our nation. This is an asset that we want to preserve. This is an asset that does more for our nation”.”
There are, of course, very powerful arguments in favour of maximising the amount of money which we donate to deserving causes of all kinds around the world. We are vastly rich by comparison with most places; a billion of us in the prosperous North go to bed obese while another billion elsewhere go to bed starving; we have inherited moral obligations not least from our Imperial past; and there are strong strategic reasons for supporting free liberal democracies round the world to...
Historians pore over the great events of history for decades, centuries, after they have occurred and often come to different conclusions about what went wrong. Why did the Saxons lose the Battle of Hastings? (Because they did not have stirrups enabling them to fight from horseback). Was Richard Coeur de Lion the greatest king ever, or a bit of a French ruffian? And is Richard II not half as bad as Shakespeare made him out to be? Every battle is capable of close re-analysis. Every shot...
James Gray, Member of Parliament for North Wiltshire, was delighted to attend the Wedding Open House at Grittleton House last weekend. Mr Gray stated:
“It was wonderful to be able to visit the impressive Grittleton House in preparation for its planned re-opening. It is the most beautiful setting and a fitting reminder that we are on course for the lifting of restrictions on 21st June.
Venues such as Grittleton House have been badly hit by the Coronavirus pandemic...
One of the great strengths of the British political system (by comparison, for example with the US) is that the money we are allowed to spend on promoting our causes or parties is relatively small; and that all of it is openly declared.
In a general election, for example, any candidate may spend a figure calculated on the number of electors, which comes roughly to £14,000 per head. That is largely raised from ordinary supporters responding to a “Fighting Fund Appeal”; and any sums...
© 2021 Promoted by Nick Botterill, on behalf of James Gray, both of North Wiltshire Conservatives, 12 Brown Street, Salisbury SP1 1HE.