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Welsh Government should not swallow up the Royal Commission

October 23, 2012 6:15 PM

The Welsh Liberal Democrat Spokesperson on Heritage, Peter Black has called on the Welsh Government to preserve the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales as an independent body.

Mr. Black was speaking as part of the debate on the Welsh Government's Historic Environment Strategy. He is concerned that the Minister is considering merging the Royal Commission with Cadw, which is a government body, despite the fact that the two are fundamentally very different.

Mr. Black said: "The Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales is a specialist body involved in investigation and record. There is concern that if a merger takes place then that role could be diluted. The archive that they maintain is an important asset which has some protection as a result of the body's charitable status, that status would be lost if it were brought into government, as would its independence.

"There is certainly merit in creating a new body outside of government with responsibility for Welsh heritage. Such a development would maintain charitable status and enable the new body to attract additional income. It would also have more freedom to innovate and work with other bodies and statutory bodies in partnership.

"The Minister told us in May that he had established a working group to consider merging the functions of the Royal Commission with other organisations. We are yet to see the report that was promised for July 2012. I hope that he listens to the many experts who are urging him not to bring the Royal Commission into government and that he enables it to retain its independence, even if that is part of a bigger organisation with a wider remit."