Glasgow City Council urged to reconsider museum cuts - Museums Association

Glasgow City Council urged to reconsider museum cuts

Proposed budget reduction will see 37 redundancies in museums and collections team
The People's Palace museum is closing for a major refurbishment this year
The People's Palace museum is closing for a major refurbishment this year

There are serious concerns in the museum sector over the impact of Glasgow City Council's proposed cuts to its museums and collections service.

The proposals will see almost a third of jobs cut from the museums and collections team at Glasgow Life, the charitable trust that oversees the city's cultural services.

In budget plans announced earlier this year, the council is seeking to save around £712,000 through reductions to the museum service's conservation and technician resources and its learning and engagement activity, as well as £26,000 from its operational budget.

The council will also save £566,000 in revenue funding due to the closure of the People's Palace and Winter Gardens for a major refurbishment.

The proposed cuts will mean the loss of 37 posts from the museums and collections service, out of a total of 128, including curators, conservators, outreach assistants, digital photographers and technicians.

Those whose jobs are under threat include staff who worked through the pandemic to ensure the reopening of the Burrell Collection. 


In an Equality Impact Assessment of the plans, the council says that "external support may be periodically required" to mitigate the impact of the loss of conservation and technician resources. It says it will establish "the minimum levels required" and prioritise work to support the continuation of Accreditation.

It says further work will be undertaken to assess the level of impact of its proposed cuts to learning and engagement activity, which will affect schools and younger people. "The mitigation for these issues will be careful prioritisation of activity to identify communities of greatest need and activities which support the most beneficial external funding relationships," states the assessment.

The Museums Association has called on the council to reconsider the cuts. MA policy officer India Divers said: “We are concerned by the proposed staff cuts at Glasgow Museums that will result in a reduced public programme and fewer exhibitions. These cuts will have a detrimental impact on local communities who rely on these services and pose a risk to Glasgow Museums’ international reputation.  

"While we understand the gravity of the financial challenges that Glasgow City Council is facing, we would encourage them to reconsider these proposals and think about the impact the proposed cuts will have on workforce wellbeing and community wellbeing.”

A spokesman for Glasgow Life said: “Glasgow’s collection receives careful and considered care and this is going to continue. The savings Glasgow Life is making this year adds up to around 9% of the annual service fee it receives from Glasgow City Council. The plans agreed in February ensure we will not have to close any venues. Wherever possible we have identified ways of making savings by reducing, rather than losing, Glasgow Life services, programmes and events; retaining the potential to rebuild them in the future.”

Glasgow Life manages 10 museum and gallery sites across the city: Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, the Riverside Museum, the Burrell Collection, the Gallery of Modern Art, People's Palace, Glasgow Museums Resource Centre, Kelvin Hall, St Mungo's Museum of Religious Life and Art, Provand's Lordship and Scotland Street School Museum.

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