Edinburgh World Heritage - News Article


Director's Notes - November 2011

Monthly update from EWH Director Adam Wilkinson.

Nov 23, 2011

In a review with Simon Schama in the Weekend FT magazine, Bill Clinton talked about the arithmetic of intelligent investment. At this point I would normally doze off, but what he said is worth reproducing here as it has direct relevant to the direction Scotland has chosen for its economy.

"For $1bn invested in a new coal plant, you get fewer than 900 jobs. For solar you get 1900 jobs, for wind turbines 3300 and [for] retrofitting buildings, 7000-8000 jobs". If ever there were a case to make for using public investment to support the historic built environment in these straightened times, here it is (adding to it the tourism benefit this being the single biggest earner for Edinburgh).

The challenge that we pose for those driving forward economic policy in Scotland is to stop, think and act on this: cutting funding to the historic built environment in its capital city and the second greatest visitor destination in the UK makes no sense. Our recently published annual review lays out the achievements of EWH with the funding it receives from donations, the City of Edinburgh Council and the Scottish Government. We are proud of this track record and hope that you will take a few minutes to browse through the review.

As part of our continuing reduction in overheads, we have moved offices, up to the Old Town. Acheson House, on Bakehouse Close (just off the Canongate) is our new home, and we are eagerly anticipating unpacking all our boxes and welcoming you all there (especially those interested in gardening). The last few weeks have been spent clearing out a decade's worth of excess paper, and moving the considerable (and important) archives off to storage. In Acheson House, the overheads for running EWH will have reduced by 25% since 2007/8, while the funds put into the repair of the building will, according to Mr Clinton's formulae, have been well used.

On the horizon, I'd ask you all to be on the lookout for a series of emails from us during the week of the week of the 5th December, when we will be asking you all to participate in 'The Big Give'. Any funds given to EWH through the Big Give website during that week will be matched, pound for pound. We are aiming to raise a total of £60,000 to enable us to continue the work we've been reporting on in these monthly newsletters and in our annual review.

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