William Eichler 18 June 2020

Council celebrates ‘landmark’ ruling that will save museums thousands

Exeter City Council has welcomed a landmark ruling over the rateable valuation of a Grade II building in a court decision that could save museums thousands of pounds.

The Royal Courts of Justice ruled that the Royal Albert Memorial Museum & Art Gallery’s rateable value should be reduced from £445,000 to £1.

The council was supported by Arts Council England (ACE) and the National Museum Directors Council (NMDC) due to the importance of the case for the sector.

‘We are relieved by the outcome which is good news for RAMM but also the sector as a whole. Like all other local authorities, Exeter is facing huge financial challenges and the new rateable value will represent a substantial saving at a critical time,’ said Cllr Rachel Sutton, the council’s portfolio holder for climate and culture.

‘The judgment recognises the reality of the public subsidy required for a museum that is highly valued by its community but has an intrinsic cost. Many other museums and local authorities will find themselves in a similar position and our hope all along was that this judgement would also benefit other museums and the communities they serve.

‘We are extremely grateful to ACE and NMDC. Without their support this landmark case would have been too costly for us, as a district council, to pursue.’

Sir Nicholas Serota, the chair of Arts Council England, commented: ‘This is a significant judgement which will benefit many museums across the country, ensuring that their resources can be used to concentrate on what they do best – conserving collections and delivering stimulating experiences for their communities.’

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