Government recognises the value of national museums 20 Oct 2010

The Government’s Comprehensive Spending Review statement has announced that DCMS sponsored museums will have their resource budgets cut by 15% over four years in a settlement which recognises the front line nature of museum services, the importance of preserving free admission and the crucial role of museums in contributing to the British economy.

Dr Michael Dixon, Chair of the NMDC and Director of the Natural History Museum said:

“NMDC has been working closely with DCMS and is very grateful for the work Jeremy Hunt, Ed Vaizey and department officials have done to ensure that the unique situation of museums has been understood and reflected in this settlement.”

At a time of economic recovery museums and galleries are more important than ever. They deliver world-class public services, build confidence in Britain and stimulate the creativity and innovation that will help drive economic success.

Although funding cuts may not be as high in percentage terms as other areas of DCMS or Government spending, they will be equally challenging due to the high unavoidable costs of running museums compared to other Government funded institutions.

We are committed to ensuring our collections can be cared for, shared and enjoyed by all and will be passed on as a legacy for future generations. In the current circumstances we may have to reduce some of the things that we currently offer, but we will preserve free access and as much of our service to the public as possible.

We are confident that we will get through the challenges ahead. Although public funding for museums is essential, we are increasingly effective at generating our own income (on average 45.6% for national museums in 07/08[1]). NMDC will continue to work with Government to look for ways to reduce unhelpful administrative burdens on museums and create the conditions where museums are better able to raise and spend their own funds and encourage philanthropy. Today’s announcement on access to museum reserves is a very positive step in this direction.

[1] Calculated using annual reports of NMDC institutions.

More about encouraging investment in museums.