Grant-in-aid boost for Amgueddfa Cymru

Patrick Steel, 14.06.2017
But further savings needed to meet £3.5m cuts plan
The Welsh government announced a slight increase in grant-in-aid revenue funding for Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales (NMW), along with increased capital funding for urgent repairs.

Grant-in-aid has increased from £20.8m in 2016-17 to £21.8m in 2017-18.

The figure for 2017-18 includes £269,000 transferred from the museum’s specimen purchase fund (the fund is halved for 2017-18 to £269,000 from £538,000 in 2016-17), which the Welsh government reallocated to compensate museum staff for changes to their contract for weekend working, and a one-year only additional uplift of £730,000.

Although it is a slight uplift on the previous year, it is down from £23m in 2015-16. In all, the museum saw a 33% real-terms cut to its budget from 2010-15.

Capital maintenance funding in 2017-18 is £4,989,000. According to an NMW spokeswoman this is earmarked for “high priority health and safety work, roof repairs, large scale re-wiring, and repair and replacement works across all our national museums”.

David Anderson, NMW's director general, said: “The funding is very good news for NMW and will help us build a more sustainable future for the organisation.

“With this kind of support from the Welsh government, we can provide greater job security for staff, protect expertise and maintain a world-class national museum service for the people of Wales and its visitors.”

The museum made £857,000 in income generation in 2016-17, slightly short of its target of £1m. The target for 2017-18 is £1.09m.

The museum is still looking to make savings to meet proposals outlined last year to cut £3.5m from its budget over three years. In December the museum deleted nine curatorial and learning posts across a range of grades, including management roles, which will save it £400,000 a year.

Museums Journal understands that the museum service agreed with the trade union Prospect to spread further cuts over several years.

Meanwhile, the government is examining the business case for a merger between NMW and Cadw to create Historic Wales. It will make an announcement regarding this at the end of September.

The government commissioned a separate independent review of the strategy and operations of NMW, announced in February, which is led by Simon Thurley, and is still ongoing. The government is also working on a strategy to provide a framework for the sector until 2020, which is expected to be published this summer.