NMDC response to the 2013 Spending Review 28/6/2013

NMDC welcomes the Government's recognition of the unique and vital contribution of museums to our economy and society.  Although a further 5% reduction in funding will be a real challenge, we are glad that arguments for the importance of investment in museums and the arts have been heard.  We await full details of the Spending Review settlement, including cuts to capital funding for national museums.

We also welcome the announcement of new operational freedoms for national museums, and thank the Chancellor and Treasury and DCMS colleagues for their commitment to this issue.  Greater freedom from current restrictions around staff pay, procurement and financial management will enable national museums to better raise and spend their own funds, encourage philanthropy and cope with the impact of cuts.  We look forward to working with Government on the implementation of these changes.

By 2016 national museums will have had their government funding cut by almost a third in real terms since 2010, and the full impact of cuts across the museum sector is still to be seen.  NMDC is particularly concerned for regional museums in England, which are facing cuts to their funding from both central and local government.  If the 5% cut is passed on in full to the Renaissance in the Regions programme, Government funding for non-national museums will have reduced by a total of 35% by 2016.  The further 10% cut to Local Authority budgets will put critical pressure on funding for museums around the country.  We hope that, in very challenging economic times, councils will continue to invest in culture and recognise the vital benefits that regional museums provide for the economy and well-being of local communities.

Whilst museums are becoming ever more successful at fundraising and generating their own income, further public funding cuts will inevitably mean difficult decisions and a reduction in some museum services.  However, museums remain more popular than ever, with over 50 million visits to national museums alone in 2012 and over half of all UK adults and 61% of children now visiting museums each year.  Museums act as a major draw for tourists, offer an essential learning resource, support science and the creative industries, and contribute to the health and well-being of people across the UK.  NMDC members are determined to work together and with partners to maintain this success, and to continue to care for our world class collections and provide the widest possible access to them to educate, entertain and inspire.