The government has committed £80m to set up a new charity to care for historic properties in the National Heritage Collection, in the 2015/16 spending round announced today.
The Treasury announced in its full spending document that the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) will work with English Heritage to consult on a new charity that will protect the properties on a self-financing basis.
The funding, not mentioned in Chancellor George Osborne’s speech in Parliament this afternoon, is made despite a 5 per cent cut to museums, the arts and community sports. The DCMS budget has been reduced by 7 per cent from £1.4bn in 2014/15 to £1.2bn in 2015/16.
The Museums Association warned that further cuts to the DCMS budget mean closures are likely, particularly when combined with further local government cuts of 10 per cent, also announced today.
Museums Association director Mark Taylor said: "Predictably, local government is low down the food chain and we know that local government museums or independent museums supported by them are way down the local government food chain. The result can only be less museums, open less and providing less services.
"We are reaching the tipping point. Museums have high costs in maintaining public buildings and these cuts mean that they have little or no money to make collections available to the people that own them – the public.”
However the government believes the introduction of a four-year pilot of new operational freedoms within the spending review will "help the sector continue to thrive and to increase self-generated income".
Citizens Advice also criticised the 10 per cent cut to local government, stating that it will "make it harder to deliver welfare reforms", while a 10 per cent cut to the Ministry of Justice will "increase the likelihood of the emergence of a two-tier justice service," the advice charity tweeted.