Jim Dunn’s Elements - a photograph of Glasgow's new Riverside Museum - won the 2010 Chartered Institute of Building’s Art of Building digital photography competition

Glasgow Life announces 300 job losses

Rebecca Atkinson, 21.12.2010
Latest museum cuts roundup including job losses in Glasgow
Glasgow Life has announced plans to make 300 posts redundant over a two-year period.

The trust, which runs museums and sport centres for the city council and employs nearly 3,500 staff, said it must make savings of £10.2m over three years but plans to do so without closing any facilities. A spokesman said the job losses will be “carefully managed” over a two-year period in order to mitigate the impact on staff.

“We will be looking to increase flexibility among the workforce and at ways of increasing income as part of the savings,” he added.
The job losses come amid a tide of bad news from the sector, as funding cuts increase the threat of closure for some services.

The Museums Association is tracking the changes in our Cuts Monitor forum and on Twitter at #museumcuts.

Local authority museums have found themselves particularly in the firing line, as councils are being forced to make cuts of 28.4% over the next four years.

Barnet Council has proposed withdrawing funding to two museums – Church Farm House Museum and Barnet Museum – from April 2011 as part of plans to cut total spending by £43.1m over the next three years. The council’s libraries, museums and local studies service has also been asked to consider how to make savings of £1.3m, around 20% of the current service budget.

Councillor Robert Rams, cabinet member for customer access and partnerships, said: "Financially this is the most challenging time local government has ever known and in these circumstances it's very hard to justify a subsidy of £15 per visitor to a museum when safeguarding children and adults should be at the top of our agenda. It's important to remember these are still proposals at this stage and we'll be consulting on them alongside all our other budget proposals."

As part of a consultation, Barnet council will consider different options for the hosting of exhibitions, artifacts and materials currently housed within the museums.

Elsewhere, Birmingham City Council is looking to move Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery to a trust operating model in order to save an estimated £1.3m in 2011-12 and £2.4m by 2014-15. It is still consulting on budgets for 2011-12.

See the January issue of Museums Journal for more on local authority museum cuts

Jersey Museum has announced it will close between January and April in order to save money.

Funding pledges

Meanwhile, there have been several pieces of good news relating to funding.

The Welsh Assembly has allocated £1m of new funding for St Fagans: National History Museum development in Cardiff. This is on top of the £4m additional funding allocated to the development in the draft budget last month and £1m announced earlier this year to carry out essential maintenance and modernisation works.

And the Heritage Lottery Fund has awarded a grant of £835,000 to the Ditchling Museum in East Sussex. The funding will be used to pay for the creation of new education spaces and a broader programme of activities, events, workshops and educational sessions.

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