Government departments model 40% cuts - Museums Association

Government departments model 40% cuts

ACE suspends applications to museum resilience fund
Patrick Steel
The Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) and the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) have been asked to model cuts of 25% and 40% ahead of the comprehensive spending review in November.

It is not clear at this stage what percentage of any cuts would be passed on to Arts Council England (ACE) and national museums from DCMS or local government from DCLG.

Official guidance for arms-length bodies is expected to come closer to the spending review, but Museums Journal understands that both ACE and the nationals are modelling different funding levels in anticipation of further cuts of up to 40%, while ACE has suspended applications to its museum resilience fund until after the spending review announcement.

“All departments have been asked to model two scenarios of 25% and 40% of savings by 2019-20,” said A DCMS spokeswoman.

“These are the same reductions requested ahead of the 2010 spending review.

“No decisions have been made on arts and culture funding."

The museum resilience fund has a budget of £10m for 2015-16, but indicative budgets for 2016-17 and 2017-18 at the same level are now in doubt.

An ACE spokeswoman said: “The museum resilience fund budgets for 2016-17 and 2017-18 were proposed figures and subject to the grant-in-aid settlement we receive from government in the spending review.

“We’re postponing applications until after that so we know exactly how much money is going to be available for the next round."

Major Partner Museums may also find their funding reduced if DCMS cuts are passed on to ACE. The arts council’s guidance states: “If we were faced with further in year cuts that we had to apply to National Portfolio Organisations, we’d apply that cut to all our National Portfolio Organisations (and Major Partner Museums) regardless of their source of funding.”

Darren Henley, ACE’s chief executive, said: “We know the chancellor wants to make savings but he also wants to invest in growth.

“Our sector will deliver against government objectives such as economic growth outside London.

“It will also give the nation great art and culture. And it will do so efficiently and for less than 0.1% of government spending.

“We'll be making the best possible case for investment between now and the autumn.”

The comprehensive spending review announcement will be made on 25 November.

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