Culture minister Ed Vaizey. Image: DCMS

Vaizey: "DCMS is here to stay"

Gareth Harris , 20.06.2013
Ministers also discuss Science Museum closures in arts funding debate
The culture minister Ed Vaizey told the House of Commons yesterday that the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) would not be abolished.
 
In a debate led by Labour on the importance of the arts and creative industries, shadow culture minister Dan Jarvis stressed that “there has been speculation recently that in the forthcoming Comprehensive Spending Review [26 June] the DCMS will be abolished and its constituent parts moved elsewhere”.
 
But Vaizey told MPs: “Let me say one last thing: DCMS is here to stay. We have moved buildings, but that is a metaphor for this government. We have better offices, and they cost less, because with this government we get more for less.”
 
Several MPs, including Jarvis, also sought reassurances about the future of the Science Museum Group (SMG) following director Ian Blatchford’s warning that cuts of 10% or more in the spending review would lead to the closure of one of its museums.
 
Vaizey told BBC York earlier this week that SMG would not need to close any of its museums as budget cuts would not be as great as expected in the spending review.
 
During the parliamentary debate, he added: “On national museums in general, I can first of all assure [MPs] that there is absolutely no reason at all for any of the northern science museums to close.”
 
But Hugh Bayley, Labour MP for York Central, said: “We are told that the DCMS secured a reduction of only 5% in its funding settlement. If the Science Museum [group] received a further cut of 5%, its structural deficit would increase from about £2m a year to £4m a year. Nothing has been said yet about the capital funding of between £2m and £2.5m.”
 
SMG's future is to be the focus of an inquiry by the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee on 2 July.
 
The same committee also intends to carry out an inquiry on the future of national museums and how they are funded.
 
Bayley, meanwhile, also pointed out that he tabled a parliamentary question earlier this month asking Vaizey whether free admission to national museums would be retained. “He answered yes,” Bayley said.

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