Welsh Government must act to ensure national treasures remain accessible to all, says FDA
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The FDA has called on the Welsh Government to invest whatever is needed to protect Welsh national treasures and to ensure everyone in Wales continues to have access to their cultural history.
The FDA represents members in both Amgueddfa Cymru/National Museum of Wales (AC) and Llyfrgell Genedlaethol Cymru/National Library of Wales (LlGC), and has raised serious concerns that the UK Government’s Cultural Rescue package is simply not enough to cover the huge loss of income experienced over the last four months.
In evidence to the Senedd’s Welsh Language and Communications Committee inquiry into the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak, the FDA argued that’s whilst the announcement was welcome, “the £59m allocated under the package to all parts of the cultural sector in Wales will do little, if anything, to reverse over a decade of reductions in direct grant-in-aid funding for AC and LlGC.
“The scale of self-generated income lost by institutions in the wake of COVID-19 highlights the failure of the current funding models of AC and LlGC, trying to provide first class visitor experiences with minimal investment.”
The FDA paid tribute to the response of both organisations to the physical shutdown, including “creating rich, accessible online content, notably AC’s acclaimed mass observation project to collect and capture the experiences of living in Wales during the pandemic.”
However, the union warned that it could be a number of years before the institutions were able to raise the same amount of money they had been reliant on prior to COVID-19, and that substantially increased funding was needed to ensure the institution’s National Collections “remain accessible to every Welsh citizen.”
Commenting after submitting the evidence, FDA Wales National Officer Gareth Hills said:
“Both institutions have suffered a drastic loss of revenue from visitors, currently £400,000 a month for the National Museum, and have also suffered the latest in a long line of reductions in grant-in-aid support. On top of that they have incurred additional unplanned costs of providing equipment for people to work at home and on preparing sites for opening.
"These unexpected monetary hits exacerbate the already perilous financial position both institutions face. That is why FDA Wales now calls for Welsh Government to increase immediately grant-in-aid to support Amgueddfa Cymru and Llyfrgell Genedlaethol Cymru."
You can read the FDA’s full evidence submission in Welsh here and in English here.