Museum Wales cuts defended by First Minister Vaughan Gething

Image: National Museum Cardiff (CC BY-SA 3.0 Ham II)

Gethin said “real choices have to be made”, after Museum Wales warned of cost-saving job cuts

Welsh First Minister Vaughan Gethin has said there will be no immediate financial help for Museum Wales after the organisation signalled it could be forced to cut at least 90 jobs.

Over the weekend, Museum Wales chief executive Jane Richardson told the BBC that cost-saving measures could mean at least job cuts, and the closure of National Museum Cardiff, which is in need of restoration.

The organisation, which runs seven national museums, has since clarified it has no immediate plans to close the museum and is in discussion with the Welsh government to secure capital funding for building repair.

A spokesperson for the Welsh government said its budget is up to £700m less in real terms than when it was set in 2021 and it has “had to take extremely difficult decisions.”

Museum Wales has had a £3m reduction in its grant, and a total deficit of £4.5m because of a year-on-year deficit of £1.5m.

At a press conference Gethin said budget priorities would remain health and social care, with “much more difficult choices to make across the range of government.”

“We’re well past the point where being more innovative gets you over the line. We’re at a point where real choices have to be made about what we’re not going to do.

“We need to think about how the whole national museum has an offer, that is understood, that people know about, and that people take advantage of.

“We can and should still have ambition for what our national museum and galleries can provide.”

Tom Giffard, Conservative shadow minister for culture, said: “It’s frankly very rich for a Labour First Minister to talk about priorities.

“Funding does have to be prioritised, and tough choices have to be made, which is why it’s all the more frustrating to see the Labour Welsh Government spend so much on their vanity projects, while one of our flagship museums falls into ruin.”

Museum Wales has been approached for comment.