George Osborne tackled over museum closure

 

A group representing 11 local authorities has written to Chancellor George Osborne expressing its serious concerns about the possible closure of a major museum in the north of England.

Earlier this month, the director of the Science Museum Group, Ian Blatchford, said it may be forced to shut either the Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester, the National Railway Museum in York or Bradford's National Media Museum as a result of the Government's squeeze on its budgets.

Mr Blatchford said the prospect of a further 10% extra cut in funding meant "almost certainly" that one of the museums would have to go.

Now council leaders from across the Leeds City Region have written to Mr Osborne.

The region consists of 11 local authorities - Barnsley, Bradford, Calderdale, Craven, Harrogate, Kirklees, Leeds, Selby, Wakefield, York and North Yorkshire County Council.

The have told the chancellor the three northern national museums play a crucial role in educating and inspiring future generations of scientists and engineers to drive our country's economy and its international competitiveness.

They say the museums are also vital to the local and regional economies of Bradford, York and Manchester.

According to the councils, the National Media Museum in Bradford contributes over £24 million per annum to the city and district's economy in indirect offsite expenditure. It employs 103 full time equivalent staff.

The National Railway Museum, in York, attracts 700,000 visitors a year with an economic impact of between £40-50 million. The group say it is a significant factor in the York's plans to double the value of tourism in 10 years.

The Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester provides a direct benefit of over £7 million as a direct employer and purchaser and generates indirect offsite expenditure of nearly £28 million.

The council leaders said they are also concerned for the long term future of the National Coal Mining Museum, near Wakefield, which is now contracted through the Science Museum Group.

Councillor Peter Box, Leader of Wakefield Council and chairman of the Leeds City Region Leaders Board, said: "In our letter to the Chancellor we propose that funding for the Science Museum Group is moved from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport to the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills. Also that the current level of funding is protected, in the long term interests of our northern cities and the nation as a whole."

Councillor James Alexander, Leader of City of York Council, said: "The Department of Business, Innovation and Skills has a £13 million 'science and society' programme and spends its money on a plethora of initiatives, but not on the Science Museum Group. This does not make sense because the science museums are trusted by the public and teachers and have the best experience of presenting science with the greatest impact and reach across the country."

Councillor David Green, Leader of Bradford Council, said: "Meetings have taken place between Bradford, York and Manchester councils and with the Science Museum Group to discuss how we might support the future of the national science museums in our cities. Clearly, the economic and cultural impact of closing a national science museum in Bradford, York or Manchester would be devastating."

Since the announcement of the possible closure of one of the museums a number of well-known people have pledged their support to their local institutions.

These include the Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, who is backing the campaign for the National Railway Museum, and singers Gareth Gates and Kimberley Walsh, who have come out in support of Bradford's National Media Museum.

World famous artist David Hockney today called any proposal to close the National Media Museum a "catastrophe".

Bradford-born Hockney told the Telegraph & Argus: "Of course it would be a catastrophe if it closed.

"I said once that attractive buildings attract people. Think of Venice or Florence or even Paris, but I don't expect Bradford to do that."

PA

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Parts Advisor

£16500 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the leading Mercedes-Ben...

Recruitment Genius: Software Developer

£27500 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Telemarketers / Sales - Home Based - OTE £23,500

£19500 - £23500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Experienced B2B Telemarketer wa...

Recruitment Genius: Showroom Assistant

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This global company are looking for two Showro...

Day In a Page

Fifa corruption: The 161-page dossier that exposes the organisation's dark heart

The 161-page dossier that exposes Fifa's dark heart

How did a group of corrupt officials turn football’s governing body into what was, in essence, a criminal enterprise? Chris Green and David Connett reveal all
Mediterranean migrant crisis: 'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves,' says Tripoli PM

Exclusive interview with Tripoli PM Khalifa al-Ghweil

'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves'
Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles: How the author foretold the Californian water crisis

Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles

How the author foretold the Californian water crisis
Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison as authorities crackdown on dissent in the arts

Art attack

Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison
Marc Jacobs is putting Cher in the limelight as the face of his latest campaign

Cher is the new face of Marc Jacobs

Alexander Fury explains why designers are turning to august stars to front their lines
Parents of six-year-old who beat leukaemia plan to climb Ben Nevis for cancer charity

'I'm climbing Ben Nevis for my daughter'

Karen Attwood's young daughter Yasmin beat cancer. Now her family is about to take on a new challenge - scaling Ben Nevis to help other children
10 best wedding gift ideas

It's that time of year again... 10 best wedding gift ideas

Forget that fancy toaster, we've gone off-list to find memorable gifts that will last a lifetime
Paul Scholes column: With the Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards

Paul Scholes column

With the Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards
Heysel disaster 30th anniversary: Liverpool have seen too much tragedy to forget fateful day in Belgium

Liverpool have seen too much tragedy to forget Heysel

Thirty years ago, 39 fans waiting to watch a European Cup final died as a result of a fatal cocktail of circumstances. Ian Herbert looks at how a club dealt with this tragedy
Amir Khan vs Chris Algieri: Khan’s audition for Floyd Mayweather may turn into a no-win situation, says Frank Warren

Khan’s audition for Mayweather may turn into a no-win situation

The Bolton fighter could be damned if he dazzles and damned if he doesn’t against Algieri, the man last seen being decked six times by Pacquiao, says Frank Warren
Blundering Tony Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

Blundering Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

For Arabs – and for Britons who lost their loved ones in his shambolic war in Iraq – his appointment was an insult, says Robert Fisk
Fifa corruption arrests: All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue

Fifa corruption arrests

All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue, says Ian Herbert
Isis in Syria: The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of President Assad and militant fighters

The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of Assad and Isis

In Syrian Kurdish cantons along the Turkish border, the progressive aims of the 2011 uprising are being enacted despite the war. Patrick Cockburn returns to Amuda
How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields: Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape the US

How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields

Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape to the US
Stephen Mangan interview: From posh buffoon to pregnant dad, the actor has quite a range

How Stephen Mangan got his range

Posh buffoon, hapless writer, pregnant dad - Mangan is certainly a versatile actor