The policy column

A manifesto for museums
Alistair Brown
This month’s general election affords a good opportunity to make a strong case for the role of museums in society, and to defend the sector against potential cuts and belt-tightening in the next parliament.

So the Museums Association has set out five key ideas in its Museums Manifesto.

  • Maintaining free entry: the government should protect this key achievement in museum policy of the past 20 years.
  • Sustaining public investment: the government should mitigate the impact of the cuts by increasing funding via Arts Council England’s National Portfolio scheme.
  • Negotiate a Brexit deal that works for museums: ensure that there are protections for existing museum staff from other EU countries; no new barriers to tourism; and no new customs or regulatory barriers to the exchange of museum objects.
  • Deliver the Museums Review for England: due to be published this summer, the review will give strategic direction to public funding in the sector.
  • Simplify business rates: rises in and changes to how rates are calculated have disproportionately penalised museums. The next government should commit to helping museums, not taxing them.
There are other things that we’d like to see from the government, including recognition of and investment in the critical role that museums play in their communities and society. But by attending to these issues, the next government could help to put the sector on an even keel after a rocky few years

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