PLANS to bring the commercial functions of Cadw and National Museum Wales together have moved a step closer.

The Welsh Government announced yesterday that the two organisations could merge into a new body called Historic Wales.

The announcement comes as the Welsh Government published the Price Waterhouse Cooper (PWC) report, “Investing in the future to protect the past", which considered the future of heritage services in Wales.

Cabinet Secretary with responsibility for culture, Ken Skates, has asked the director of the National Trust Wales, Justin Albert, to chair a steering group to progress the next phase of this work.

“This is a pivotal time for the heritage sector in Wales," said Mr Skates.

"The Historic Environment Act has placed Wales at the forefront of UK nations in the protection and management of the historic environment.

“However, with competing demands for limited resources and a need to promote Wales better than ever, it is crucial that we evaluate whether the structures underpinning the sector are fit for purpose and whether they could be improved through increased and genuine partnership.

“I want to help build a heritage sector that is global in ambition and internationally renowned and this means our national public institutions evolving, and becoming more financially resilient.

The steering group will draw upon the findings of the PWC report and agree which organisations and commercial functions should fall within the scope of Historic Wales.

The will progress the business case for change and provide an implementation plan for the delivery of Historic Wales, and repot back in January 2017.

Mr Albert said that he was looking forward to working closely with the steering group to help 'build a historic environment in Wales which is engaging, sustainable and dynamic.

In a joint statement, the trade unions represented on the steering group said: “We welcome the cabinet secretary’s invitation to participate in the steering group and, in principle, support any proposals that protect our members best interests and help grow and strengthen the culture and heritage sector in Wales.

"We approach this important work with an open mind and willingness to engage”