Fitz under threat

Andrew Georgiou – Deputy News Editor 31 January 2010

The Director of the Fitzwilliam Museum has warned of the serious consequences that cuts to government funding could have for the Museum.

The current review into HEFCE (Higher Education Funding Council for England) funding for museums and galleries, due to be completed in spring this year, will set the level of funding for the next five years.

Dr Timothy Potts fears that cuts will be made. He told The Cambridge Student (TCS) that the “HEFCE’s grant represents a quarter of the museum’s budget, so any significant cutback would lead to significant reductions in the programmes and services we can provide for the public, students and scholars”.

Dr Potts does not accept that cuts are inevitable in the current economic climate. He said: “The total HEFCE funding to university museums is only around £10 million, so it is not a major element in the overall savings that the government is looking to make.

Yet this small amount represents a very major part of the core funding of many of the most important museums in Britain.”

Lord Young of Norwood Green, from the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills, told the House of Lords earlier this month that “the government fully recognises the importance of university museums”.

He added: “We should not anticipate that they will necessarily be negative.”

Andrew Georgiou – Deputy News Editor