Vaizey: SMG museums won’t close - Museums Association

Vaizey: SMG museums won’t close

Culture minister says cuts will not be as large as feared
Patrick Steel
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Culture minister Ed Vaizey said this morning that the Science Museum Group (SMG) would not need to close one of its museums following next week’s spending review, as budget cuts will not be as great as they feared.

SMG director Ian Blatchford had warned that cuts of 10% or over would lead to the closure of one of its museums.

Vaizey told BBC York: “They [SMG] asserted if there was a certain level of cuts they would have to look at closing one [of their museums]…

“They are not going to receive those level of cuts so there is no reason why any of these museums should close.

"Let's not beat about the bush - they won't close."

Whitehall sources indicated last week that the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) will receive an 8% cut to its budget, while Arts Council England’s (ACE) budget is likely to be cut by 5% when the government announces its spending review on 26 June.

A DCMS spokesperson said: “This an operational issue for SMG which has to address a large projected operating deficit from 2014 onwards and is assessing a range of options to address this situation.

“The chancellor will shortly set out the government’s spending plans for 2015/16, however we are clear about the value of the museums in question to the local areas and the UK as a whole.”

A spokesman for SMG responded: "We are encouraged by indications from DCMS about the level of funding settlement for 2015/16.

"We await confirmation of the actual details of the funding package and clearly, until these are received, we cannot be certain about the level of structural deficit we face and which options will have to be considered.”

SMG, which is funded by the DCMS, has dealt with a 25% cut in real terms to its budget since 2010 and has axed 89 posts in that period.

SMG's future is also to be the focus of an inquiry by the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee on 2 July.

Update
4.12pm

Piece updated to include SMG statement.



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