V&A job cuts risk losing ‘1,000 years of expertise’, union says

·2 min read
<p>The Victoria and Albert Museum</p> (Alamy)

The Victoria and Albert Museum

(Alamy)

Job cuts at the Victoria & Albert Museum risk losing “1,000 years of expertise”, according to the union representing staff.

It warned the government needs to “step up” and increase funding to stop the loss of senior curators and experts currently being considered for redundancy as part of the V&A’s attempt to make massive savings in the face of lockdown.

The museum, which plans to reopen only five days a week at first, is looking to save £10 million a year after its visitor numbers collapsed in lockdown.

The redundancy process is still ongoing but among the positions the union say are at risk are senior curators and experts in fields from conservation to science.

Prospect general secretary Mike Clancy said the pandemic had “shone a light” on the current funding model.

He said: “Nowhere is this more apparent than at the V&A where the response to Covid-related loss of earnings is resulting in the loss of more than 1,000 years of specialist knowledge.

“The government talks a good game on the importance of our culture but refuses to back it up with funding.”

He said the government had to increase funding so the V&As “position as world leader can be preserved”.

A V&A spokeswoman said emergency government funding had given it “a crucial lifeline and time to stabilise and plan “.

She added: “But despite this generous support and extensive cost saving measures, we are still facing the most significant financial challenge in our history as a result of Covid-19.”

A spokeswoman for the Department of Culture, Media and Sport said the V&A had benefited from “a £100 million uplift in funding” for national museums.

She said: “As we move through the next stage of the government’s roadmap from 17 May we encourage people to visit our world-class museums like the V&A and do their bit to support them".

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