Laura Sharman 27 October 2021

Council spending on museums falls by more than a quarter in past decade

Council spending on museums falls by more than a quarter in past decade image

Local authority spending on museums and galleries has fallen by 27% in the past decade, new analysis has found.

A report by the Museums Association reveals that across the UK spending fell from £426m to £311m between 2009/10 and 2019/20.

England saw the biggest drop at 34% in real terms, while Scotland saw spending fall by the least at 23%.

The report warns the cuts to funding are having a material impact on the ability of museums to maintain basic levels of service.

Sharon Heal, director of the Museums Association, said: 'This independent research lays bare the debilitating reduction in funding that local museums have suffered over the past 10 years. These museums provide a vital community service, and in some towns and cities they are amongst the few civic spaces that are open and welcoming to all.

'We know that local authorities are under enormous pressure to provide statutory services, despite sustained cuts to their budgets, which often means that museums lose out.'

The Museums Association is calling for the Government to take a strategic approach to investment in local museums and develop new ways to support revenue funding for local museums.

It also wants the Museums and Galleries Exhibitions Tax Relief to be made permanent and for local authorities to help museums work with partner organisations in their communities.

Cllr Gerald Vernon-Jackson, chair of the LGA’s Culture, Tourism and Sport Board, commented: 'Funding for museums and other cultural services has been affected in recent years by rising pressure on council budgets and growing demand for statutory services like social care, as well as the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

'Councils need a fair and sustainable funding settlement in the upcoming Spending Review to ensure they can continue to fund these essential community services and deliver against the Government’s plans for Levelling Up.'

Photo: elRoce /

For your free daily news bulletin
Highways jobs

Occupational Health Administrator

Cumbria County Council
£20,444 - £20,852
The Cumbria County Council Occupational Health team has an exciting opportunity for an enthusiastic and motivated Health Administrator. Cumbria
Recuriter: Cumbria County Council

Highways Team Leader - West x2

Cumbria County Council
£25,927 - £26,446
Are you a hard-working and experienced Highways operative, looking for the next step in your career? Cumbria
Recuriter: Cumbria County Council

Street Lighting Operative

Cumbria County Council
£22,571 – £23,484
We are looking for the right candidate to join our team as a Street Lighting Operative. Cumbria
Recuriter: Cumbria County Council

Programme and Project Officer - Domestic Abuse

Cumbria County Council
£28,226 - £29,174
Are you looking to gain experience in a challenging, and incredibly rewarding environment? Carlisle, Cumbria
Recuriter: Cumbria County Council

Fostering Social Worker - West

Cumbria County Council
£31,895 - £32,798
As a Fostering Social Worker, you will recruitment and train Foster Carers, supporting them in providing high quality family placements for children. Cumbria
Recuriter: Cumbria County 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.