LABOUR ACCUSES GOVERNMENT OF NEGLECT AS NORTHERN MUSEUMS COME UNDER THREAT

Dan Jarvis MPDan Jarvis MP, Labour’s Shadow Culture Minister, will be working closely with Labour MPs and local authorities following recent concerns about the potential closure of some of the UK’s finest museums – including Locomotion, the National Railway Museum in Shildon, County Durham.

George Osborne’s economic failure means he will be forced in the coming Spending Review to impose even more deep cuts to our museums and galleries.

Dan Jarvis MP said:

“It is shameful that some of our finest museums are facing the threat of closure. This Government seems content to sit back and watch our cultural heritage turn to dust. Museums are our country’s heirlooms, passed from one generation to the next. Each government has a responsibility to nurture and develop them. Neglect is simply not an option.

“The Government is also ignoring the important economic impact of these museums. The cultural, heritage and tourism sector are significant contributors to the regional and local economies; local jobs will inevitably be put at risk. Arts and culture are not the preserve of the south alone. Inspirational museums exist outside of London, yet the capital gets most of the funding. It is unfair for the regions to bear the brunt of these cuts.

“Museums also help create a sense of history and community, both by preserving our culture and by acting as a visible sign of civic pride.

“I will be working closely with Labour local authorities in Manchester, Bradford, York, Co. Durham, Wakefield and Liverpool, and with Labour MPs, to do all we can to minimise the impact of the forthcoming Spending Review that might lead to closure. Ministers need to prioritise within their budgets maintaining these hugely valuable museums because losing them could end up costing these local economies far more than would be saved.”

Museums which currently receive funding from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, and are believed to be at threat from cuts in the forthcoming Spending Review include:

The Science Museum Group (SMG) which runs the Museum of Science and Industry (MOSI) in Manchester, the National Railway Museum in York, the National Media Museum in Bradford and the National Railway Museum in Shildon, Co. Durham, as well as the Science Museum in London.

The National Museums Liverpool Group – which run the Walker Art Gallery, World Museum, Museum of Liverpool, Merseyside Maritime Museum, International Slavery Museum and Sudley House in Liverpool, and the Lady Lever Art Gallery in Port Sunlight, Wirral.

The National Coal Mining Museum – in Wakefield.