Given the rising cost of living and inflation, the Museum Association calls on the UK government to fund institutions

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Given the rising cost of living and inflation, the Museum Association calls on the UK government to fund institutions

Source: AUN news

The Museums Association (MA) has urged the UK government to provide museum employees with a new “pay settlement” that keeps pace with Britain’s skyrocketing inflation increases and provides additional funding for struggling museums through current tax relief programs.

According to the association, the cost of living crisis produces “serious problems” for British museums, one of the most influential organizations in the UK’s cultural sector. It requests that funding organizations and museum directors devise plans to give “significant wage offers [for] the museum employees this financial year.”

The MA cites an expanding amount of data showing that real wages for many museum employees are dropping “at the fastest rate in decades.” It states, “Museum employees need compensation agreements that will allow them to keep up with the challenges of the rising cost of living.”

The MA produced a report in 2017 that showed how compensation increases for museum employees have been considerably below the rate of inflation in recent years. There are few signs that the subsequent substantial rise in inflation expenses, which reached 9.4% last week, will calm down.

The MA also observes that museum attendance is still below pre-Covid levels and expresses concern that the British public is becoming less willing to spend money on paid museum experiences. The MA cites recent research from the ALVA Public Sentiment report that demonstrates that the cost of living has surpassed Covid as the main deterrent to not attending a museum event.

The association responds by urging local and UK governments to “invest wisely in the museum industry” despite the likelihood of a forthcoming global recession.

Since the predicted increase in energy costs would cause museum overheads to climb dramatically when temperatures drop, The MA has appealed for funds to be provided to struggling UK museums, some of which have previously faced the risk of limited hours, poor staffing, or even closure. They continue by stating that people who cannot heat their homes during the winter are “inclined to use museums—formally or informally—as warm locations.” According to the MA, many museums would be disproportionately affected by growing energy costs because they “are frequently located in energy-hungry heritage structures.”

The Museums and Galleries Exhibition Tax Relief scheme was initially implemented in April 2017 to assist museums and galleries in establishing new exhibitions. The MA says, “We encourage efforts to make the MGETR schemes permanent.” MGETR is based on the Film Tax Relief program, which was initially implemented in 2007 and increased sector revenue. Later, the program expanded to other creative industries, such as museums and heritage.

The MA, the oldest museum association in the world and a non-profit membership organization, has approximately 8,000 individual members, 580 institutional members, and 250 corporate members.

Analysis by: Advocacy Unified Network

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