DCMS announces £250m for regional cultural investment
The government today announced a new £250m Cultural Investment Fund for heritage projects around the country, in its biggest ever single investment in cultural infrastructure.
To allow major infrastructure and maintenance work across England over the next five years, regional museums and libraries will have £125m invested in them, and £90m is to be allocated to extend the existing Cultural Development Fund for heritage, culture and creativity.
The National Railway Museum at York (pictured) is to get £18.5m for a transformation that will include new gallery and exhibition spaces at the heart of one of the biggest city centre brownfield developments in Europe. The investment, said the museum’s director, Judith McNicol, “is an extremely significant milestone in realising our £55m Vision 2025 campaign to turn our museum into a truly world-class attraction. It is the springboard for unlocking our role as the cultural heartbeat of York Central - one of the most ambitious regeneration projects in Europe".
£7m is to go to Coventry for its UK City of Culture programme in 2021.
The £250 million investment will be delivered by DCMS over the next five years at £50m a year and distributed by Arts Council England. Both the National Lottery Heritage Fund and Historic England will also play important roles, particularly in the delivery of the museums maintenance fund.
Culture secretary Nicky Morgan said: “Creative and cultural institutions are at the heart of our communities. The Cultural Investment Fund is the government’s biggest ever single investment in cultural infrastructure, local museums and neighbourhood libraries and will benefit communities across the country. This will help drive growth, rejuvenate high streets and attract tourists to our world-class cultural attractions”.
The Museums Association saw the extra investment as landmark. “Last year we convened a Museum Taskforce which showed that there is a desperate need for investment in museum buildings” said the association’s director, Sharon Heal. “Our members have told us about crumbling ceilings, leaking roofs and a lack of money to be able to carry out basic maintenance work. Often museums are housed in historic properties that have suffered from years of neglect and in order to protect our fantastic collections and ensure that our communities can continue to enjoy them we need to act now - this funding will enable museums and galleries in England to do just that.”
Meanwhile, Scotland’s culture secretary Fiona Hyslop has issued a creative industries policy statement setting out plans for a sector that that contributed £5.5bn to Scotland’s gross domestic product. Her priorities, she said, are developing and retaining skills, and attracting international talent; promoting Scottish culture internationally; developing business support and creative networks; and promoting the value of design.
“The great social, cultural and economic value of our creative industries is unparalleled. They unlock innovation and growth in other sectors, and promote Scotland across the world” she said. “The Creative Industries Policy Statement articulates our vision and sets out priorities which will focus our work for the sector.”