Museum of Docklands drops admission charge - Museums Association

Museum of Docklands drops admission charge

London museum hopes VAT savings will make up for lost revenue
The Museum of London Docklands aims to recoup the income it will lose from dropping its £5 admission fee through VAT savings.

The move means that the West India Quay-based venue falls in line with its sister institution, the Museum of London, which also offers free admission.

A spokesman said: “We are committed to free admission and we, and our funders, are confident that free entry is a viable option for both museums.”

“Under Section 33 of the VAT Act, the Museum of London is one of a relatively small number of museums which, owing to our free entry policy, can claim back VAT. We feel that the substantial savings made in VAT will help compensate for lost admission charges.”

He added that there was no guarantee that they would make up all the losses, but said they were confident that they could recoup most of them.

The refund scheme for national museums and galleries, introduced in 2001, allows institutions to reclaim VAT on the purchase of goods and services.

Income could be generated in the shop and cafe, said the spokesman, who added that the museum was also banking on voluntary donations.

The governance of the Museum of London, Museum of London Docklands and Museum of London Archaeology Service has been shared between the Greater London Authority (GLA) and City of London Corporation since 2008.

GLA joint funding for the Museum of London and Museum of London Docklands for the financial year 2010-11 is £8m, while the City of London has awarded almost £6m to the two institutions for the same period.

The spokesman said the museum had wanted to make Docklands free to all visitors since it opened in 2003.

The museum attracted 95,469 visitors during the 2009-10 financial year.

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