Science Museum prepares way for job losses

The Science Museum Group is to consider redundancy plans after losing around £23m in revenue amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

The income loss has been in fundraising, retail, corporate events and licensing, at the group, which is an exempt charity regulated directly by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport and recognised as charitable by HM Revenue and Customs.

Its director and chief executive Ian Blatchford said that the scale of the cuts and job losses is now being considered. A further update on consultation with staff around the changes will be provided in November.

“This is a step we take with huge reluctance; recognising the pain it will cause colleagues who contribute so deeply to our mission,” said Blatchford.

“This concern will inform our approach to this difficult period, including giving advance notice of what will be a phased process and constructive engagement with colleagues and our recognised trade unions.”

The group includes the Science Museum in London, the Science and Industry Museum in Manchester, Bradford’s Science and Media Museum, York’s Railway Museum and Locomotion in Shildon, near Darlingon.

Blatchford said: “Like the communities we serve, and so many other cultural organisations, the Science Museum Group has been hit very hard.

The entrepreneurial spirit behind the transformation of our Group over the past decade, that saw us grow the proportion of self-generated income to cover half of our annual turnover, cannot resist the financial impact of this pandemic.

He added: “With ongoing restrictions and the deep impact on international tourism, it will be several years before we can return to a position of strength.”

The arts and heritage charity sector has been among the hardest hit amid the pandemic, due to reduced income from visits as well as fundraising losses.

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