Visitors at National Museum Scotland

Devolved nations reveal budget cuts

Patrick Steel and Rebecca Atkinson, 17.11.2010
Scotland and Wales cut culture budgets
The Scottish Executive and the Welsh Assembly have today announced departmental budget cuts for Scotland and Wales.

Scottish national museums are being asked to find 4% savings from April next year, while Historic Scotland will see its budget cut from £49.3m this year to £47.0 in 2011/12.

Creative Scotland is to have its £35.5m core budget maintained next year, while major capital projects, including the V&A at Dundee, will receive some funding – the government would not confirm amounts – from the Office of the First Minister's £20.5m portfolio capital budget.

Museums Galleries Scotland (MGS) is still in discussions with the government over its funding settlement for next year, but a decision is expected before the budget bill is passed in the new year. A report by the Scottish Museums Thinktank, due before Christmas, may also have an impact on funding for MGS. The Scottish Government grant to MGS for this year was £4.2m. 

Local authorities will receive an overall cut of 2.6% in 2011/12.

Mark Taylor, the director of the Museums Association, said: “With a modest cut to the nationals and confirmation of major capital investment, on the surface we should be relieved, but a number of worries remain in Scotland.

“The first is that this is only a one year budget, and there are concerns that following years will contain worse news.

“The second is that it is unclear what proportion of cuts local authorities will have to make to culture.

“And the third is that there is a good deal of nervousness about the future of Museums Galleries Scotland and the vital role that it plays in supporting non-national museums.”

Wales

Meanwhile, the Welsh Assembly’s draft budget reveals departmental expenditure to museums, libraries and archives will fall from £46.1m in 2010/11 to £44.6m in 2011/12, £43.2m in 2012/13 and £42.2m in 2013/14.

Although a breakdown of funding to sponsored bodies is not expected until Friday 19 November, the budget also reveals that grant-in-aid to the National Museum Wales will be reduced over the spending period.

The assembly government has reiterated its commitment to free entry at national institutions and proposed to contribute to capital funding for the St Fagans development.

In total, the Welsh Assembly’s budget will be cut by £860m next year, and £1.8bn by 2014/15.

Taylor said: "It is interesting that the arts seems to have suffered more in England than in the devolved nations. However, the devil may be in the local authority detail in both Wales and Scotland."

For reaction to the cuts on the MA's Cuts Monitor, please click here

Correction
18.11.2010

We reported that the government was waiting for the outcome of a report by the Museums Thinktank before making a decision on budgets for MGS. In fact, although the decision on budgets for MGS is still under discussion this is unrelated to the Thinktank report.

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