SLASHING the budget will impact on services provided by museums and galleries across the city, it was announced last night.
Currently the Great North Museum is operated on a free basis, but yesterday museum bosses said they will look at a range of their services.
Iain Watson, director of Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums, said: “The Great North Museum and the Hatton Gallery receive around 12% of their funding from Newcastle City Council and this will be removed, while Discovery Museum, Tyne & Wear Archives and the Laing Art Gallery will have their funding from Newcastle City Council cut by 50% over the next three years.
“Obviously this will have an impact on the services we can deliver to people in the region – our learning programmes for schools and families, the exhibitions we stage and the work we do with community groups in the North East will all be looked at as we work to deal with reductions in funding.
“I understand that this is not a decision which Newcastle City Council wished to make but has had forced on it by the local government funding position.
“I sincerely believe in the positive impact that museums and galleries – and wider arts and culture – have on the local and regional economy and the lives of people who live in the North East. More than one million people enjoy and learn from museums and galleries in Newcastle every year.”
Sarah Stewart, chief executive at NewcastleGateshead Initiative, said: “The announcement from Newcastle City Council regarding the significant cuts to its budget over the next three years clearly demonstrates just how challenging a time this is for the city.
“As part of these cuts, the funding we receive from Newcastle City Council will reduce over the next three years, adding up to a total reduction of 34% by 2016, with an initial cut of 14% next year.
“The funding we receive from Newcastle City Council represents just one of NewcastleGateshead Initiative’s many sources of income, and the cut in funding next year is equivalent to less than 5% of our annual budget.
“Our work to promote the destination to visitors, to secure major conferences and to attract inward investors – alongside our award-winning cultural programme – all contribute to the growth of our local economy.
“We will continue to work closely with Newcastle City Council and Gateshead Council while building on our success in securing private sector support to ensure we remain well placed to sustainably deliver our work into the future.”