Bradford's National Media Museum faces shortfall of £900,000

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: National Media Museum National Media Museum

The future of the National Media Museum is again in jeopardy, the Telegraph & Argus can reveal – only eight months after ministers declared it had been “saved”.

The iconic attraction faces a potentially devastating £900,000 budget shortfall, an inquiry by MPs has been told, after fresh Government funding cuts.

Now the renewed threat to the museum has triggered an appeal for help to the Treasury from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), which is alarmed by the second crisis.

Gerry Sutcliffe MP (Lab, Bradford South) said he was seeking an urgent meeting with Culture Minister Ed Vaizey: “The future of the museum is again in jeopardy, because it faces a potential revenue shortfall of £900,000 a year.

“That means we need to work with the Science Museum Group, the Government and the Council to find a way forward.

“I want to hold a meeting with Ed Vaizey as quickly as possible. He acted as the honest broker in the discussions we have had so far.”

The extent of the new financial ‘black hole’ was revealed to the Commons Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee on its recent visit to the museum.

It is much larger than the figure put forward last December for savings being sought across the Science Museum Group of £787,000 over two years.

The T&A has also been told independently that the museum is seriously concerned about a “big chunk of money” to be found, although closure is not being discussed.

A five-year masterplan to revive it, put forward by the museum itself, was accepted by trustees of the Science Museum Group in December.

It includes plans to create two permanent galleries, a temporary exhibition space, overhaul its lobby and entrances and join forces with a cinema partner.

But that plan is now at risk of being derailed because of the revenue shortfall – despite Mr Vaizey’s statement, last summer, there was “absolutely no reason” for concern about closure.

MPs on the culture committee were told by a senior DCMS official that a request for help had been sent to the Treasury.

Asked about that letter, a DCMS spokesman said only: “We have been in discussions with both the department for business and the Treasury about further support for the Science Museum Group.

“The decision in last week’s Budget not to make further reductions in departmental spending is good news for all our museums.”

The museum itself declined to comment.

Philip Davies MP (Con, Shipley) said: “I share Gerry’s concerns, which were set out to the select committee on our recent visit to Bradford.

“It just shows that we cannot be complacent and everyone still needs to work together to ensure the long-term viability of the museum. We will be maintaining the pressure on the Government, the Council and the Science Museum Group to ensure the museum’s viability.”

Last month, David Green, the leader of Bradford Council, suggested the Council would not help fund any rescue – insisting responsibility “lies with the Science Museum Group”.

But Mr Sutcliffe urged him to think again, saying: “The Council will have to be involved, it will have to put something into the pot. It can’t say it wants to help the museum and then do nothing about it.

“Our efforts have always been about more than simply saving the museum – it’s also about seeking investment to ensure it remains a major visitor centre.”

Comments (9)

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5:22pm Wed 26 Mar 14

sorrow&anger says...

Cllr. Green is wrong as usual.

Bradford has very few attractions; even less now that Cllr. Thornton's failure to police public hygiene has ruined the curry tourist trade and City Hall's planners are allowing ruinously ugly buildings to be be erected on our Saltaire World Heritage site. We need to preserve what is left. He should rescue the museum on the strict understanding that the management team are replaced by people who know what they are doing.
Cllr. Green is wrong as usual. Bradford has very few attractions; even less now that Cllr. Thornton's failure to police public hygiene has ruined the curry tourist trade and City Hall's planners are allowing ruinously ugly buildings to be be erected on our Saltaire World Heritage site. We need to preserve what is left. He should rescue the museum on the strict understanding that the management team are replaced by people who know what they are doing. sorrow&anger
  • Score: 4

5:44pm Wed 26 Mar 14

pcmanners says...

Coun Green always blames the Tories. This shortfall is not the fault of the Government. The problem with the museum is lack of visitors. People don't come to Bradford because Coun Green has failed to regenerate the city. He should fix the things he is responsible for first before pointing the finger.
Coun Green always blames the Tories. This shortfall is not the fault of the Government. The problem with the museum is lack of visitors. People don't come to Bradford because Coun Green has failed to regenerate the city. He should fix the things he is responsible for first before pointing the finger. pcmanners
  • Score: 2

5:55pm Wed 26 Mar 14

Avro says...

You can't expect any other when the visitor numbers have fallen from a peak of nearly a million in 2001 to around 488,000 in 2012/13, and will likely continue to fall until Bradford is worth visiting!
You can't expect any other when the visitor numbers have fallen from a peak of nearly a million in 2001 to around 488,000 in 2012/13, and will likely continue to fall until Bradford is worth visiting! Avro
  • Score: 4

6:24pm Wed 26 Mar 14

Albion. says...

It's a total waste, it should be somewhere where people already visit to see other attractions. London or maybe York would be better.
It's a total waste, it should be somewhere where people already visit to see other attractions. London or maybe York would be better. Albion.
  • Score: -7

7:29pm Wed 26 Mar 14

schroeder says...

pcmanners wrote:
Coun Green always blames the Tories. This shortfall is not the fault of the Government. The problem with the museum is lack of visitors. People don't come to Bradford because Coun Green has failed to regenerate the city. He should fix the things he is responsible for first before pointing the finger.
Lack of visitors isn't the problem, the price of running the free museum is.

It is still one of the most visited museums in the north of England.
[quote][p][bold]pcmanners[/bold] wrote: Coun Green always blames the Tories. This shortfall is not the fault of the Government. The problem with the museum is lack of visitors. People don't come to Bradford because Coun Green has failed to regenerate the city. He should fix the things he is responsible for first before pointing the finger.[/p][/quote]Lack of visitors isn't the problem, the price of running the free museum is. It is still one of the most visited museums in the north of England. schroeder
  • Score: 2

7:51pm Wed 26 Mar 14

informer says...

Sounds like a simple case of lets threaten to close in and the suckers at the council will spend tax payers money to fill the gap and when they do we'll come back for more later
Sounds like a simple case of lets threaten to close in and the suckers at the council will spend tax payers money to fill the gap and when they do we'll come back for more later informer
  • Score: 5

7:59pm Wed 26 Mar 14

fedupwiththeBS says...

here we go again; there will be a big out cry and everyone will jump on the band wagon again shouting that we cannot afford to lose this attraction, an attraction that obviously no one visits.
here we go again; there will be a big out cry and everyone will jump on the band wagon again shouting that we cannot afford to lose this attraction, an attraction that obviously no one visits. fedupwiththeBS
  • Score: -1

10:26am Thu 27 Mar 14

BierleyBoy says...

As ever Sutcliffe always ready to spend someone else's money, just like he did at OK. a bulls when he refused to put any of his own money into but was happy to get money from Labour pals in council.

The SMG receives a MASSIVE amount of money every year. The spotlight should be on them & how they spend what they are given.

I have never once received any promotional literature from NMM and rarely see anything about what it has to offer. If a business doesn't sell itself, it won't survive.
As ever Sutcliffe always ready to spend someone else's money, just like he did at OK. a bulls when he refused to put any of his own money into but was happy to get money from Labour pals in council. The SMG receives a MASSIVE amount of money every year. The spotlight should be on them & how they spend what they are given. I have never once received any promotional literature from NMM and rarely see anything about what it has to offer. If a business doesn't sell itself, it won't survive. BierleyBoy
  • Score: 4

2:06pm Thu 27 Mar 14

basil fawlty says...

Why aren't there brown signs along the M62 telling everybody where the museum is along with Salatire World Hertage Site and Bronteland? Such signs already exist for attractions elsewhere. These are three major attractions in the Bradford district and the signs would not only show visitors the way but also advertise them to passing motorists who may well make a future visit.
Why aren't there brown signs along the M62 telling everybody where the museum is along with Salatire World Hertage Site and Bronteland? Such signs already exist for attractions elsewhere. These are three major attractions in the Bradford district and the signs would not only show visitors the way but also advertise them to passing motorists who may well make a future visit. basil fawlty
  • Score: 1

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