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Debates and questions

S5W-29591: Finlay Carson (Galloway and West Dumfries)

Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party

Date lodged: 3 June 2020

To ask the Scottish Government what mechanisms are in place to enable Historic Environment Scotland to progress current projects while staff are furloughed.

Answered by: Fiona Hyslop 15 June 2020

I am advised by Historic Environment Scotland (HES) that as its revenue comes largely from non-Government sources it is eligible for the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) and thus HES has appropriately claimed CJRS in accordance with UK Government guidance, and that it has proportionately furloughed staff according to the reduced level of commercial income impacted.

HES states that with the remaining staff it is continuing to deliver its core functions and is reallocating staffing and resource as needed. Given the necessary restrictions that are currently in place, there are activities where HES is not able to continue to provide normal service. HES is working to minimise the impact of this on core activities as well as ensuring plans and resources are in place to allow it to reopen properties and resume activities as quickly as possible and in the most appropriate manner as COVID-19 restrictions are eased.

Historic Environment Scotland (HES) has published an Action Plan for 2020-21 identifying how it will maintain and develop its core activities in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and the actions it is taking to support the wider historic environment sector. The Action Plan is publicly available on HES website: https://www.historicenvironment.scot/about-us/news/hes-publish-six-month-action-plan-in-wake-of-covid-19/

The Scottish Government will continue to work closely with HES to look at the resources needed to support its resumption plans and organisational priorities for the remainder of 2020-21.