Memorial fund awarded additional £5m by DCMS

Gareth Harris, Issue 110/04, p7, 01.04.2010
Department underspend makes up for loss of £5m in grant-in-aid

A £5m cut in the National Heritage Memorial Fund’s (NHMF) grant-in-aid from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) for 2010-11 has been offset by a £5m increase this financial year as a result of a departmental underspend.

In February, the DCMS halved the £10m it had previously allocated the NHMF for the next financial year. A DCMS spokesman said the cut was necessitated by Treasury demands that “efficiency savings be made across all departments in the third year of the 2008-11 spending review”.

But a government U-turn last month meant that the NHMF’s 2009-10 allocation was topped up by £5m, thereby giving the fund £15m this year and £5m the next. 

“It is a 2009-10 underspend from elsewhere that they will be allowed to carry over to next year, thus creating, in effect, a £10m pot for 2010-11,” said the DCMS spokesman.

Last month, Museums Journal reported a £4.8m underspend on Renaissance in the Regions for 2009-10.

NHMF chief executive Carole Souter said: “We are extremely relieved and delighted. We were potentially looking at seeing some parts of our national heritage lost for ever. The reinstated money will ensure that does not happen.”
The NHMF, which describes itself as the “fund of last resort”, has committed £3.3m during 2010-11 towards the £50m joint purchase of Titian’s Diana and Actaeon by the National Gallery in London and National Galleries of Scotland.

The NHMF announced last month that it was giving £1.285m to help Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery, and the Potteries Museum and Art Gallery in Stoke-on-Trent reach the £3.3m they need to acquire the Staffordshire Hoard.

Saved by the NHMF

John Auckland Bible, Durham Cathedral (NHMF grant: £26,000).

JMW Turner’s The Blue Rigi, Tate Britain (NHMF grant: £1.95m).

Mary Queen of Scots execution warrant, Lambeth Palace Library (NHMF grant: £17,485).

Titian’s Diana and Actaeon, National Galleries of Scotland and the National Gallery in London (NHMF grant: £10m).

Motor Gunboat 81 and High Speed Launch 102, Portsmouth Naval Base Property Trust (NHMF grant: £580,000).