History is ridden with moral complexity. Statues and other historical objects were created by generations with different perspectives and understandings of right and wrong. Some represent figures who have said or done
things which we may find deeply offensive and would not defend today. But though we may now disagree with those who created them or who they represent, they play an important role in teaching us about our past, with all its faults.
It is for this reason that the Government does not support the removal of statues or other similar objects . Historic England, as the Government's adviser on the historic environment, have said that removing difficult and contentious
parts of it risks harming our understanding of our collective past. Rather than erasing these objects, we should seek to contextualise or reinterpret them in a way that enables the public to learn about them in their entirety, however challenging this
may be. Our aim should be to use them to educate people about all aspects of Britain's complex past, both good and bad.
As set out in your Management Agreements, I would expect Arm's Length Bodies' approach to issues of contested
heritage to be consistent with the Government's position. Further, as publicly funded bodies, you should not be taking actions motivated by
activism or politics. The significant support that you receive from the taxpayer is an
acknowledgement of the important cultural role you play for the entire country. It is imperative that you continue to act impartially, in line with your publicly funded status, and not in a way that brings this into question. This is especially important
as we enter a challenging Comprehensive Spending Review, in which all government spending will rightly be scrutinised.