Trade Union Prospect has welcomed a partial victory in its campaign to prevent damaging cuts at the Imperial War Museum Group. Faced with substantial cuts to the Museum’s grant in aid from the Government, the Museum’s management had implemented a change plan which involved cuts to the Museum education service and the closure of the Museum’s Library. However, faced with a vociferous campaign by Museum staff and supporters this week has seen a partial climb down with the announcement that the Chancellor George Osborne has pledged the money to maintain the Museum’s education service. However, the Museum’s reference library remains at risk of closure.
The announcement was revealed by the MP for South Cambridgeshire Andrew Lansley, who told the BBC that the Chancellor had pledged to make an additional £8 million available. Mr Lansley’s constituency includes the Imperial War Museum’s Duxford site.
Prospect negotiator and coordinator of the on-line petition Andy Bye told the Union’s website
“While we welcome the reprieve for some of the museum’s education services, the battle is not won until its world-class library and Explore History facility in London are saved. Our members, and indeed the public, will accept nothing less.
“If dispersed now, this is not a resource, in terms of either books or knowledgeable librarians, which could ever be easily reassembled again.”
Over 13,000 people have signed the petition against the cuts since the union launched its petition in November with former IWM director general Alan Bog and former children’s Laureate and Poet Michael Rosen among the signatories. Critics of the closure plan point to the irony that Government policy is responsible for cuts to the very services, research and education, which many would see as most important in the centenary year of the outbreak of World War One. Particularly when Prime Minister David Cameron delivered the key not address at the reopening of the IWM’s Lambeth site in July after a £40 million redevelopment.