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Cuts to Welsh cultural institutions gain widespread opposition

27 Feb 2024 4 minute read
The National Library of Wales

Welsh language campaigners have voiced their opposition against cuts to Welsh cultural institutions, warning of the impact to the Welsh language and Welsh-speaking communities – saying that they are “tantamount to cuts to the language.”

Wales’ cultural treasures are under immense pressure as a result of austerity cuts imposed by the Welsh Government because of a shortfall in its expected funding from Westminster.

Job losses are on the way at the the Royal Commission, the National Library of Wales and Amgueddfa Cymru – Museum Wales, while the biggest budget cut of all is facing Cadw, the Welsh Government body responsible for safeguarding historic places in Wales, with a reduction of more than 20%.

Extensive cuts

The Welsh Government announced a series of changes to its funding for 2023/24 back in October 2023, but assurances were given that the Welsh language budget would be fully protected.

Cymdeithas yr Iaith, the Welsh Language campaign group, has argued that cuts to Wales’ vital cultural institutions serve as evidence to the contrary and will have a “disastrous” impact on Wales’ language and culture.

Rhodri ap Dyfrig, head of marketing and audiences at the National Library of Wales, said previously: “At the end of December 2023 the National Library of Wales was notified by the Welsh Government of a 10.5% reduction in its funding for the upcoming financial year.

“The Library has reviewed the operational expenditure and identified savings. The staff budget represents a substantial amount – approximately 75% – of the Library’s overall budget. The Library has therefore offered a Voluntary Severance Scheme to its staff to be implemented by March 31 2024.

St Fagans National History Museum – a site run by Museum Wales

A spokesperson for Amgueddfa Cymru – Museum Wales, said: “The Welsh Government announced its 2024-2025 draft budget on December 19, presenting Amgueddfa Cymru – Museum Wales with a financial cut of 10.5%. This is part of a programme of extensive cuts across all Welsh Government portfolios to address the significant shortfall in the Welsh Government budget.”

“Largest funding cut in museum’s history”

“This represents the largest funding cut in the museum’s history and will have a sizeable impact on Amgueddfa Cymru’s day-to-day operations. To ensure that the organisation can continue to operate within the revised budgets, Amgueddfa Cymru is having to consider different cost-saving options including changing operating arrangements, closing services, and potential job losses.

“This is an unsettling period for Amgueddfa Cymru, and the first priority is to provide care and support to our staff and volunteers over the coming weeks and months. Consultations with trade union colleagues will also be taking place throughout the process.

Amgueddfa Cymru chief executive Jane Richardson said: “We shouldn’t underestimate the long-lasting effect these cuts will have on Amgueddfa Cymru and the wider culture sector in Wales.

“We are already working within an extremely challenging financial environment post-Covid as we try to manage the ongoing risks to protecting, preserving, and promoting the national collection.”

“Disastrous effect”

Joseff Gnagbo, Chair of Cymdeithas yr Iaith, said: “The Government would not save much by enacting these cuts, but the effect on our language and culture would be disastrous.”

New Cymdeithas yr Iaith Chair Joseff Gnagbo

He continued: “Because of this, we fully support those that work in the cultural institutions and their unions in this fight and call for an increase, not cuts, to the budgets of the National Library, Amgueddfa Cymru and the Royal Commission.

“The proposed cuts would entail the loss of Welsh-speaking jobs, with many of those in the language’s heartlands, which are already experiencing a fall in the number of speakers, and where Welsh-speaking work opportunities are relatively scarce.

“Jeremy Miles has made repeated public promises to protect spending on the Welsh language in the Government’s budget, but pressing ahead with these cuts would be tantamount to cuts to the language.”

Cymdeithas yr Iaith has called on its members to sign a petition opposing the cuts and to attend a protest in front of the Senedd on Tuesday (27 February).

The Senedd petition against the cuts can be found here.

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Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
1 month ago

Leave NLW alone…

Y Cymro
Y Cymro
1 month ago

There’s cuts to Welsh cultural institutions as hundreds of millions were spent on multimillionaire King Charles coronation. Doesn’t it make you feel all warm and squidgy inside. 😐

1 month ago

As usual oppressed by an English government.

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