Heritage in a cold climate

Heritage sector at tipping point says Prospect

A survey of Prospect union members across twenty-five UK heritage institutions has revealed fears that current funding and job cuts and the loss of specialist skills will be more keenly felt in the future – when it is too late to do anything about them.

The survey results will be presented at an evening seminar in London on April 30, organised by the union. Speakers will include: Helen Goodman, shadow secretary of state for culture; Matthew Taylor, chief executive of the RSA, Maurice Davies, Museums Association and Prospect general secretary Mike Clancy.

Prospect represents over 6,000 heritage professionals who work as curators, archaeologists, conservators, museum and gallery assistants.

Negotiator Sarah Ward said a 15 per cent cut announced in 2010 had devastated the sector.

“The impact has been felt in all parts of the heritage sector, over 90 per cent of respondents reported that austerity has had an adverse impact on their organisation.

“The functions that have been most severely affected by public spending cuts are: recruitment, professional development, academic or historical research, conservation and the restoration and the upkeep of built heritage sites.

“The morale of those working in the heritage sector is at an all-time low, with members expressing genuine concerns about the dangers to our national heritage becoming visible only when it’s too late,” said Ward.

The seminar takes place at the Woburn House conference centre, London WC1H 9HQ between 6-8pm, Wednesday 30 April.