WARNINGS have been made over the future of arts, history and culture in Wales amid funding cuts in the Welsh Government budget for institutions that could lead to fees having to be charged for the public for previously free entry and services at Aberystwyth’s National Library and the National Wool Museum in Drefach Felindre among others.
A Senedd committee heard that entry fees could be introduced at all national museum sites in Wales, while the National Library of Wales in Aberystwyth may be forced to charge fees for services, following funding cuts to bodies of more than 20 per cent.
Cadw, the body responsible for policy and safeguarding Wales’ historic places, and the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales (RCHAHMW) - based in Aberystwyth and responsible for recording built heritage and maintaining the National Monuments Record of Wales, will both receive a cut of more than 22 per cent to their budget.
Historic Buildings & Places said the cuts “provide a worrying picture for the future of the historic and built environment in Wales.”
Liz Power, Director of Historic Buildings & Places, said: “Wales’s heritage is increasingly at risk due to incremental underfunding of the sector over the last decade.
“The historic environment is a finite resource and these services, cultural traditions and jobs need to be supported.
“Historic Buildings & Places encourage the Senedd to think carefully about its budget priorities and ensure adequate funding is provided for the Welsh Government to meet its statutory duties and provide the conservation services needed for the effective delivery of planning decisions and growth of tourism, heritage and development sectors.”
The Senedd’s culture committee heard last week that ending free access to museums is under consideration as public bodies look to generate additional income.
The deputy minister for culture Dawn Bowden said the scale of budget constraints means the Welsh Government and arm’s-length bodies have to explore all options.
Cadw, which has responsibility for 130 historic sites in Wales, and the National Library in Aberystwyth have been told to look at entry fees or charging for more services.
Museums in Wales include the National Wool Museum in Drefach Felindre.
Ms Bowden stressed that protecting jobs has been one of the key priorities guiding the Welsh Government when setting draft 2024-25 spending plans.
She said a culture strategy will be published within the next financial year.