Heritage Group - Public content

Prospect Heritage Group

Heritage funding

Prospect has long argued the case for the heritage sector to be adequately funded by central government. But the reality is somewhat different. Successive governments have squeezed grant-in-aid to museums and galleries so hard that in real terms the sector is £31m - 11 per cent - worse off than it was nine years ago.

The financial squeeze has hit staff hard with job cuts across the sector and salaries falling behind their comparators in the civil service and other public bodies. Exhibits have also been affected, with gallery closures and the mothballing of collections.

Graduate entrants in museum curatorial grades can expect a starting salary of around £12,000. By comparison, the starting salary for engineering and IT graduates is in the region of £17,000.

The campaign for proper funding of the national collections continues, with the aim of achieving the statutory goals of access, education and social inclusion. One key Prospect policy objective was achieved in 2001 - the Labour government's re-introduction of free access to the national collections.