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Museum petition calling for Welsh Government funding to be increased reaches over 10k signatures

17 Apr 2024 3 minute read
National Museum of Wales in Cardiff

Emily Price

A Senedd petition calling for the Welsh Government to increase funding for institutions that safeguard the heritage and history of Wales has reached over 10,000 signatures.

Launched by Susan Jane Jones Davies, the petition titled, “Increase, don’t cut, funding for the National Library, Amgueddfa Cymru and the Royal Commission” will collect signatures until August 19.

It passed the 10,000 mark this afternoon (April 17), meaning it is now eligible to be considered for a debate in the Senedd.

Prior to the Easter recess, the Senedd backed calls to keep free entry to museums amid warnings that budget cuts will risk endangering Wales’ national collections.

Amgueddfa Cymru, the National Library for Wales and the Royal Commission all face a 10.5% cut as a result of a £700m hole in the Welsh Government’s budget.

The Royal Commission investigates and records Wales’ archaeological, built and maritime heritage whilst Amgueddfa Cymru / Museum Wales is a Welsh Government sponsored body made up of seven museums located across Wales.

The National Library of Wales in Aberystwyth is a national legal deposit library which holds books, art, manuscripts and an audiovisual archive.

Reduction

Amgueddfa Cymru says it’s currently addressing a £3m reduction in its grant whilst incurring a year-on-year deficit of £1.5m.

There are warnings that at least 90 jobs could be lost as a result.

The National Museum Cardiff – one of the organisation’s seven sites – could be forced to close to the public because of a maintenance backlog worth tens of millions of pounds.

The news triggered public outcry and criticism from Senedd opposition parties.

First Minister, Vaughan Gething defended the cuts saying, “difficult choices” had been made as a consequence of making the NHS a priority after a decade of austerity.

The Senedd petition calls for funding for heritage institutions to be increased.

It states: “These institutions protect the historical and cultural legacy of our nation, by collecting and preserving it, and then showcasing it to everyone who lives in Wales. They also provide the world with a window to our unique history.

“Bearing in mind that every £1 invested in the sector leads to £5 worth of economic growth, the 0.02 per cent saving made in the national budget makes little sense.

“Amid severe cuts to school budgets, and with Welsh society facing challenges in the context of poverty and failings in the provision of health and care services, holding on to the institutions that sustain and grow our country and our communities, thereby allowing future generations to build on the solid foundations of past successes, is as important as ever.”

Shadow Minister for Culture, Tom Giffard signed the petition after raising concerns that Wales’ culture sector has borne the brunt of budget cuts.

He said: “It’s frankly very rich for a Labour First Minister to talk about priorities.

“Funding does have to be prioritised, and tough choices have to be made, which is why it’s all the more frustrating to see the Labour Welsh Government spend so much on their vanity projects, while one of our flagship museums falls into ruin.

“The First Minister must reconsider this decision and step in to protect our Welsh heritage.”

A Welsh Government spokesperson said: “Wales’ culture, art and sports institutions are an integral part of our society and wellbeing, enriching our communities and inspiring future generations.

“We have been clear our budget is up to £700m less in real terms than when it was set in 2021 and we have had to take extremely difficult decisions.”


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Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
1 month ago

I wonder if Smiles is making a stand against this ill-conceived decision?

Cwm Rhondda
Cwm Rhondda
1 month ago

The British Labour party in Cymru have long been deniers of our history. In Vaughan Gething’s First Minister’s acceptance speech he said, he stands “for a leadership grounded not in….. the fruitless search for a past that never was…” Obviously, there may be any number of interpretations of what Vaughan Gething meant by this statement. Nevertheless, Cymru has a past, a written down past which sought development for Cymru as an independent country free from being governed by another country with similar but also different values – 70% of the time we are governed by the Tory party (different values… Read more »

Richard Davies
Richard Davies
1 month ago

Two-faced hypocrisy coming from tom giffard, the tory shadow minister! If he really cared about Cymru he would be pushing for fair funding from westminster! There are no vanity projects! If he is referring to the increase in Senedd members I would say that Northern Ireland, approx half the size of Cymru, has 90 members, it’s only right Cymru has sufficient to scrutinise ministers effectively! If he is referring to default 20 mph, it was a manifesto commitment. If he means Cardiff airport, we would be the only country in the world without an international airport without investment from our… Read more »

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