Question Mark over Museums Upkeep; RUNNING COSTS POSER AS LOTTERY FUNDS MORE HERITAGE BUILDINGS
Byline: SIMON KUKURUZOVIC
A CULTURE spokeswoman for Coventry has welcomed the establishment of a task force to look at the funding of regional museums such as the city's own Herbert Art Gallery and Museum, describing their preservation as "critical to the long-term interests of our national heritage."
A national report by heritage expert Adrian Babbidge says museums need an extra pounds 29 million a year, to meet the increased operating costs of running new buildings and extensions funded by the National Lottery.
A cut in local government subsidies and increased competition is also piling on the financial pressure, says the report.
The regional task force has been set up by Culture secretary Chris Smith.
Bosses at the Herbert and the Museum of British Road Transport, in Hales Street, Coventry, said there was growing national concern over the funding and long-term viability of some museums.
Speaking on behalf of the two city council-backed museums, Cllr Val Stone, acting cabinet member for cultural and leisure services, said: "We are aware of the national concern in relation to the revenue funding of regional museums, particularly in respect of the considerable amount of capital expenditure invested in the sector in recent times from sources such as the National Lottery. …