Major partner museums face further funding blow

Following on from local authority cuts, the DCMS's budget has been slashed by £34m
Patrick Steel
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The Museums Association has warned that some museums could struggle to do more than open their doors, following a new round of cuts.

Last month, the government announced £34m of cuts to the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) for 2013-14 and 2014-15. These are being passed on directly to Arts Council England (ACE) and national museums.

Both ACE and all DCMS-funded museums in receipt of grant in aid will receive a 1% cut in 2013-14 and 2% in 2014-15. For ACE this translates as a loss of £3.9m in the first year, and £7.7m in the second.

This comes on top of a 30% cut to ACE’s budget in October 2010. The organisation is restructuring to halve its administration costs by 2015.

Alan Davey, ACE’s chief executive, said grant in aid budgets would have to fall accordingly, but it was unclear how ACE-funded museums would be hit. It has told major partner organisations that it would let them know as soon as possible.

Funding to local government will not be cut in 2013-14, but the full details are to be announced in a separate local government finance settlement.

There will also be a further spending review in the first half of this year that will set local government departmental expenditure limits for 2015-16.

Mark Taylor, director of the Museums Association, said: “With the diversity of funding for many museums, these cuts could hit them in a number of directions. “For many smaller museums, a further reduction of 3% or more from any source would make it hard for them to do more than just open their doors.”

A spokeswoman for the National Museum Directors’ Council said: “We are obviously concerned for our regional members, particularly in light of local authority funding cuts this year.

“For many of them, this could be a double blow of reductions from both ACE and their local council. It [the autumn statement] is not as bad as we feared it could be, but we await the outcome of the spending review.”


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