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MA publishes museums manifesto

Nicola Sullivan, 04.05.2017
Manifesto outlines key priorities that should be adopted by the next government
The Museums Association (MA) has published a manifesto outlining what museums, galleries and heritage sites require from the next UK government.
Museums Manifesto 2017 states that the new administration should help museums secure a stable financial future during a period of public funding cuts; diversify audiences; continue to thrive post-Brexit; and work with government departments and public bodies to deliver a range of policy goals, particularly in education, health and wellbeing, science and research, tourism, cultural diplomacy and social services.
The manifesto outlines five key priorities that should be adopted by the next government.
Maintaining free entry to museums, which was a manifesto pledge of all the major political parties at the last general election.
Sustaining public investment at a time when local authorities in England are spending 31% less in real terms on museums than they did in 2010. The next government should commit to working with local authorities to sustain their funding, and should mitigate the impact of cuts by increasing Arts Council England’s National Portfolio scheme funding so that a larger number of museums can benefit.
“There are a number of potential sources of funding for this work, including the growing receipts from gambling taxes,” states the manifesto. “While we recognise that museum policy is a devolved responsibility, we believe that any new government funding settlements should allow devolved administrations to maintain their funding.”
Negotiate a Brexit deal that works for museums, including: no additional barriers to tourism from other EU member states; no new restrictions to the exchange of expertise among UK and EU museum staff, and protections for existing museum staff from other EU countries; no additional customs, regulatory or tariff barriers on the exchange of museum objects or specimens between the UK and other EU Member States.
Deliver the museums review, which has been carried out by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport over the past year, and was due to be published this month. The manifesto states that the next government should commit to continuing the work conducted by the museums review team, and should prioritise publishing a strategy for the museums sector in the new parliament.
Simplify business rates, which have increased for many museums due to changes to the ways they are calculated and other recent developments in the local tax system.
Alistair Brown, the MA’s policy officer, said: “Museums face enormous challenges at the moment. Funding cuts, Brexit, loss of expertise, and ensuring that museums remain relevant to all types of audiences are all key issues facing the sector.
“With the election approaching, we are urging political parties from across the spectrum to adopt our five-point manifesto in order to help the UK’s museums thrive throughout the next parliament and beyond.”


Museums Manifesto 2017