Thursday 12 November 2020
FDA Wales continues to campaign to secure the future of the National Museum of Wales and the National Library of Wales, in order to protect Welsh jobs and ensure that the rich fabric of our culture and history can be enjoyed by future generations.
Covid-related closures of the National Museum of Wales’ seven museums and the National Library of Wales during the UK-wide lockdown, Welsh regional lockdowns, and the recent “firebreak” have exacerbated the organisations’ already perilous financial positions.
The scale of the existing structural deficits, caused by more than a decade of cuts to grant-in-aid funding, has been intensified by three factors during the pandemic:
- In-year claw backs of 2020 grant-in-aid funding: £440,000 for the National Museum of Wales and £200,000 for the National Library of Wales.
- A drastic loss of visitor revenue - currently estimated at £1.8 million for the museums and £600,000 for the National Library.
- Additional unplanned costs of providing equipment for people to work at home and on preparing sites for opening.
FDA National Officer for Wales, Gareth Hills, says the union is absolutely committed to working with both institutions “to ensure they can access funds through the furlough schemes. This safeguards jobs in communities from Llanberis in the North, to Aberystwyth in Mid Wales, Newcastle Emlyn in the West, and from Swansea to Gwent via the valleys and Cardiff. It also helps cultural institutions recover significant amounts of lost income.”
A new collective agreement has been reached with the National Museum of Wales to enable it to make full use of the furlough scheme, and similar discussions will also be starting shortly with the National Library.
FDA Wales has also written to both the Finance Minister and the Deputy Minister for Culture, calling for immediate additional funding and for them to implement the recommendations of the Senedd culture committee’s report on the impact of Covid-19 without delay. This included recognising the need for an improved funding model.
Alongside this, FDA Wales has with its fellow trade unions, PCS Wales and Prospect Wales, written jointly to the leaders of the four major political parties calling on them to ensure their 2021 election manifestos include a commitment to introduce a new, and sustainable, funding model.
“The scale of the challenges both institutions face should not be underestimated, there is much at stake here. Both institutions are part of the rich fabric of the cultural history of Wales and must be protected for future generations,” says Hills.
“That’s why our campaign to support Welsh museums and libraries has called for a new, and sustainable, funding model. A funding model based on a substantial increase in grant-in-aid to allow both institutions to thrive and secure their long-term futures. A funding model to support Welsh culture and protect Welsh jobs.”