UK museums and galleries urged to join scheme to support public free entry

UK museums and galleries urged to join scheme to support public free entry Credit: elRoce/Shutterstock.com

Museums and galleries across the UK have been urged to sign up for a new VAT refund scheme to support free entry for the public, as reported on Saturday, August 27.

Museums and galleries that joined the public free entry scheme in 2020 are set to benefit from more than £70 million.

Any museum and gallery open to the public free of charge for 30 hours a week can apply to the scheme, in a plan that will reportedly help organisations boost their finances and open up their collections more regularly.

Running since 2001 the VAT Refund Scheme, is estimated to have refunded up to around £1 billion to museums and galleries so far.

Ahead of a speech at the Edinburgh International Culture Summit, Arts Minister Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay stated:

“The UK’s brilliant museums and galleries can be proud of the huge range of free exhibitions they put on and the role they play in increasing access to arts and culture.”

“We want to see even more museums offering free entry, and to support organisations which are providing great opportunities for the public to enjoy.”

“I encourage cultural institutions across the UK to apply for the VAT refund scheme so they can help make sure people from all backgrounds get to experience great arts and culture for free.”

Commissioner for Cultural Recovery and Renewal Lord Mendoza stated:

“In my review of museums I identified this specially designed scheme as one of the most important government interventions to help museums right across the United Kingdom.”

“I hope that we continue to see growth in the number of applications to ensure that as many people as possible can visit our outstanding museums for free.”

“Free entry for museums is a distinctive cultural intervention and I’m thrilled that the government hopes to help even more places this year.”

Helen Smout, CEO, Culture Perth and Kinross Limited, stated:

“The VAT Refund Scheme for museums and galleries alongside the Museums and Galleries Tax Relief has been of enormous benefit to our organisation and critically has helped us sustain a programme of free-to-access exhibitions.”

“This work has helped us re-engage with audiences after the disruptions of the pandemic and to date in 2022 we are outperforming our pre-pandemic footfall bringing additional benefits and income to the organisation.”

“Without the support this scheme provides for museums our programmes would not be as rich, ambitious, or engaging and our future would be much bleaker.”

The news comes after reports of a new UK scheme set to implement the toughest targets ever for water companies to combat sewage spills.


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Joshua Manning

Originally from the UK, Joshua is based on the Costa Blanca and is a web reporter for the Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at [email protected]

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