We welcomed the findings of the Mendoza Review, but we are concerned that it identified local authority-run and supported museums as most vulnerable to funding pressures.
- Councils are the biggest public sector investor in culture, including museums and galleries, spending over £1 billion per year, despite reductions in council funding from central government. There are 350 local authority-run museums in England, and more are supported through grants or contracts.
- Councils recognise the valuable role that museums play in helping to create places where people want to live, work and visit. This includes attracting tourists, involving residents in local heritage, providing volunteering opportunities and valuable outreach work that can, for example, support older people’s wellbeing.
- We welcomed the findings of the Mendoza Review, but we are concerned that it identified local authority-run and supported museums as most vulnerable to funding pressures. The current consultations on future strategies by Arts Council England and the Heritage Lottery Fund must acknowledge this serious pressure on local museums and reflect this in their final strategies.
- Councils report particular challenges with raising capital funding for major projects and developments, as well as simply maintaining the historic buildings which often house collections. This is compounded by increased competition for external funds and difficulty in finding match funding.
- The LGA’s survey of museums found that many councils identified European funding as a source of existing or potential income. The Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DDCMS) must consider the impact of Brexit on the local cultural sector, and whether alternative provision needs to be made.
- In order for local arts and cultural services to continue to thrive, we need the Government to recognise the need for investment in these services, to advocate the economic and strategic value of museums cultural services, and to steer national policy in a way which reinforces collaboration between sectors, and between national and local museums.
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Debate on local museums, Westminster Hall, House of Commons, 7 March 2018