Arts & Culture

Local authority spending on English museums drops by 16% since 2010

Featured Image: Photo by Nicole Baster on Unsplash

A report commissioned by Arts Council England has found that there has been a 16% decrease in local government funding for museums in the country since 2010.

The fall in funding, which comes to more than 1% per year, is said to be a result of increased financial pressures on local authorities.

Budgets from 2009-10 compared to those from 2022-23 show a cash reduction in local authority expenditure on museums and galleries. The investment has gone down from £286.45m ($361.16m/€335.27m).

Researchers state that this equates to a 36.7% reduction in “real terms” once inflation is taken into consideration.

ACE said the creation of the report is hoped to “produce a comprehensive set of data that can support museums, local authorities and stakeholders with budget planning, and encourage a strategic and collaborative approach to considering the funding challenges facing both museums and local government.”

The report was created after consultation with 35 stakeholders from 30 museum services. It says that one museum trust reported a 47% drop in funding from their local authority between 2011-12 and 2022-23. Another recorded an 80% difference between 2009-10 and 2022-23.

“The Arts Council is not able to replace local authority funding, but it is our responsibility as the national museums development agency to advocate for their value in public life and to work with central and local government to continue to make the case for sustained investment in museums,” said director of museums and collections development at ACE, Liz Johnson.

“The sector is keen to have the tools to address the challenges they face and we are here to support them, and to help them work together, so that we can create inspiring museums and collections that are fit for the future.”

The report concluded by calling for greater collaboration across the sector and better support for the workforce.