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Culture Minister Ed Vaizey has said there was 'no question' of closing any of the Science Museum Group's three northern museums, including the National Media Museum. They had been under possible threat following an interview given by Ian Blatchford, head of the SMG, in which he suggested closure of one museum was likely if cuts from the government spending review were as expected.
The SMG, which also runs the Science Museum in London, said it had received 'overwhelming support' and would 'continue to do all we can to ensure that the museums remain open.' It said until confirmation of the funding package was received, it could not be certain 'about the level of structural deficit we face and which options will have to be considered.'
In an emergency Common debate Vaizey said: 'They [the SMG] asserted if there was a certain level of cuts they would have to look at closing one. They are not going to receive that level of cuts so there is no reason why any of these museums should close. Let's not beat about the bush - they won't close.'
Later in the debate, minister Ed Vaizey said it was up to Bradford Council to help breathe new life into the Media Museum, but he again vowed it would not close. He insisted he wanted to secure a vibrant long-term future for the attraction, not just apply a 'sticking plaster'.
He said Council chiefs – themselves facing further huge funding cuts – must find a way to turn around the museum’s fortunes, after a steep decline in visitor numbers. It is very important that the local council comes to the table and makes a very important contribution to the future of the National Media Museum.
Last week it was reported the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) and the Treasury had agreed the department's spending would be cut by 8% for 2015-16. Arts and museums, it was reported, would share less of the burden with a 5% reduction.
The detail of the spending review will be announced next week.
The full emergency debate can be found here: NMeM%20Hansard.pdf.
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