William Eichler 13 January 2016

Council-run museums under threat from cuts

Cuts to public funding are hitting all museums, but those run by local authorities are the worst off, according to survey.

The Cuts Survey 2015, carried out by the Museums Association (MA), found a 2% decrease in total income for local authority museums.

It also discovered that 18% of the UK’s museums had closed a part or branch of their museum to the public in the past year or would do so in the year to come, and it learnt that 44 museums have closed across the UK since 2010.

The MA’s findings also found that more museums are being forced to charge. 8% of respondents introduced charging in the past year, while 12% said they would do this in 2016.

Museums are also increasingly selling off their collections in order to raise funds. 11% of the survey’s respondents were considering financially motivated disposal in the next year, which is up from 9% in 2014.

The survey revealed that 12% of museums had changed their governance model in the last five years-- 3% became trusts, 1% social enterprises, and 8% moved to another arrangement, such as a community interest group or a mixed model.

While public funding of museums has decreased, the survey demonstrates that self-generated income has increased by 6%, and 79% and 77% of respondents emphasised that income generation and fundraising will be a priority in the next year.

Sharon Heal, director of the Museums Association, said: ‘Museums that serve local communities deliver real public benefit and there is a danger that whole areas of the country will have these services wiped out if the cuts continue.

‘We are particularly concerned about the impact of the cuts to local authority funding in the English regions and the devolved nations. The MA will continue to advocate for all museums and the life-changing experiences that they can provide.’

Responding to the MA’s survey, Cllr Ian Stephens, chairman of the Local Government Association's Culture, Tourism and Sport Board said:

‘Councils recognise the tremendous role that museums play in helping to create places where people want to live, work and visit. However, local authorities had to reduce spending on arts and museums and there are still substantial challenges ahead for councils who will have to continue to find savings while trying to limit the impact on local communities.’

He continued: ‘This will include making tough decisions about how to keep providing the hundreds of vital services which communities value, including arts and museums.

‘Many council-run and supported museums have responded to budget pressures by working in new and different ways such as sharing services, generating extra income, working with volunteers and developing a digital offer. Each council will do what works best for them depending on local circumstances.’

SIGN UP
For your free daily news bulletin
Highways jobs

Digital Infrastructure & Inclusion Programme Manager

Liverpool City Region Combined Authority
£52,051 - £62,147
It’s exciting times at Liverpool City Region Combined Authority. Liverpool, Merseyside
Recuriter: Liverpool City Region Combined Authority

Digital Infrastructure Project Manager

Liverpool City Region Combined Authority
£37,600 - £50,531
It’s exciting times at Liverpool City Region Combined Authority. Liverpool, Merseyside
Recuriter: Liverpool City Region Combined Authority

Next Generation Wireless Project Manager

Liverpool City Region Combined Authority
£47,631 – £50,531
It’s exciting times at Liverpool City Region Combined Authority. Liverpool, Merseyside
Recuriter: Liverpool City Region Combined Authority

Adult Social Worker - Long Term Intervention Team x2 - Carlisle

Cumbria County Council
£31,895 - £32,798
We recognise that our workforce are best placed to design and embed new ways of working to achieve a modern social care service. Cumbria
Recuriter: Cumbria County Council

Independent Living Assessor

The Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea Council
£26,544 - £30,618
We support people’s independence and wellbeing, and work hard to enable them to live in the community with dignity, choice and control. Kensington and Chelsea, London (Greater)
Recuriter: The Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea Council

Partner Content

Circular highways is a necessity not an aspiration – and it’s within our grasp

Shell is helping power the journey towards a circular paving industry with Shell Bitumen LT R, a new product for roads that uses plastics destined for landfill as part of the additives to make the bitumen.

Support from Effective Energy Group for Local Authorities to Deliver £430m Sustainable Warmth Funded Energy Efficiency Projects

Effective Energy Group is now offering its support to the 40 Local Authorities who have received a share of the £430m to deliver their projects on the ground by surveying properties and installing measures.

Pay.UK – the next step in Bacs’ evolution

Dougie Belmore explains how one of the main interfaces between you and Bacs is about to change.