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New uncertainty at the National Media Museum (Updated)

The announcement of the outcome of the government's spending review on 26 June is likely to bring further cuts to the Science Museum Group which includes Bradford's National Media Museum. A petition has been launched against closure at: http://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/save-the-national-media-museu... 

The media has flagged all options being on the table from the return of admission charges - despite this being contrary to government policy - to the merger or closure of one of the Group's northern-based museums with the National Media Museum being the most likely candidate. Ian Blatchford, Director of SMG has also flagged closure of one of the Group's museums as an option. The SMG faces a significant deficit from 2014 which is likely to be exacerbated by a further reduction in its grant-in-aid from central government. 

The NMeM is seen as a key player in the regeneration of Bradford's city centre and the city council has been vocal in its support for it. It has proposed that financial responsibility for the museum is moved from the DCMS to the Department for Business. 

The museum has undertaken a significant restructuring including major staff losses over the past year and any further reduction in funding would inevitably further impact on the museum's activities. 

This morning, Ian Blatchford, Director and Chief Executive, Science Museum Group spoke at a press conference organised by the Science Media Centre and Campaign for Science and Engineering at the Wellcome Trust, London, on why the science budget be protected in the forthcoming Spending Review. He said: 

"In the past four years, we have dealt with a 25 per cent real terms cut in funding when the science base, funded by a different Government Department, has had to cope with a 10 per cent cut. We are investigating a range of options but if an additional 10 per cent cut is made when the spending review is announced at the end of this month, there would be little choice other than to close one of our museums, since our structural (year on year) deficit would rise from £2 million to £6 million. Cuts at this level will mean that we will again need to make savings across the whole Group, this includes the Science Museum in London and each of our sister museums in the north. I would rather have three world class museums than four mediocre museums.  I should add that charging is not on the agenda because Government policy precludes it.’

More information: 

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/three-national-museu...

http://www.thetelegraphandargus.co.uk/news/10462689.Bradford___s_Na...

http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/political-science/2013/jun/06/sci...

MPs unite in battle to save Media Museum
Bradford Telegraph and Argus
MPs have vowed to fight to save Bradford's flagship National Media Museum after a warning was issued by its parent group that it could close in the face of devastating budget cuts. Ian Blatchford, the head of the Science Museum Group, said yesterday ...

Axe threat hangs over Bradford media museum
Yorkshire Post
The group runs the Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester, the National Railway Museum in York and Bradford's National Media Museum. Mr Blatchford told BBC Radio 4's World at One: “There are two problems. The first is we are already in quite a ...

UK's northern national science museums under threat
Financial Times
The Science Museum has threatened to close one of its three branches in the north of England – the Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester, the National Rail Museum in York or the National Media Museum in Bradford – if the government cuts its ...

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