York Museums Trust faces £500,000 cut - Museums Association

York Museums Trust faces £500,000 cut

Council proposals to make £11.9m savings
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Rebecca Atkinson
York Museums Trust could see its budget slashed by £500,000 under the local authority’s budget proposals for 2015/16.  

The City of York Council will meet on 10 February to discuss plans to make £11.9m of savings in the next financial year, equivalent to 9.5% of its net budget.

The £500,000 cut to York Museums Trust funding represents nearly 50% of the service’s local authority funding. The trust saw its council funding cut by £100,000 in 2014/15 and £300,000 in 2013/14. Prior to that, the council said funding had not been reduced for a number of years.

York council has made £77.9m of savings since 2007/08, and has seen a reduction in government grants of 45% since 2011.

Dr Janet Barnes, CBE, chief executive of York Museums Trust, said: “This latest reduction of £500,000 means York Museums Trust’s income has dropped from £1.5m to £600,000 in three years, a 60% cut. The City of York Council have helped to counteract this deficit with funding for capital projects.

“However York Museums Trust, like many other museums and galleries, is having to rethink the way it is run. York is fortunate to have a strong visitor base which should enable us to operate more as a cultural business than as a cultural service.

"As part of this we are looking at numerous ways to make up this funding shortfall, such as a review of charging policies, increasing venue hire and raising awareness of our charitable status to create a supporters scheme and increase individual giving.”

In a statement about the 2015/16 budget proposals, Dafydd Williams, the leader of City of York Council, said: “The combination of rising costs and further cuts to our funding means hard decisions need to be made over which services to keep and which will have to be scaled back, stopped or delivered in a different way...

“We’ve been consulting with residents, partners and stakeholders over the past 12 months, in a range of ways right across the city. It’s clear that residents want the council to prioritise our statutory duties and that they recognise we can no longer afford to deliver everything or in the same way.”

York Museums Trust was set up in 2002 to run Yorkshire Museum, York Castle Museum and York Art Gallery, as well as York St Marys, a contemporary visual art venue set in a medieval church, and York Museum Gardens. 

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