A £3 MILLION funding deal delivered in the Budget by the UK Government for Glasgow’s Burrell Collection recognises the role the reopening of the world-renowned museum will have in supporting economic prosperity, according to the city’s culture chief.

Councillor David McDonald, chairman of Glasgow Life, made the comment as he welcomed the funding deal – revealed in The Herald on Wednesday – that was part of the Chancellor’s Autumn Budget.

The Burrell Collection, which is due to reopen its doors next March following a £69m revamp, has been awarded £1m a year for the next three years. The announcement is a massive boost for The Herald’s A Fair Deal For Glasgow campaign, which calls for a greater funding deal for the city’s cultural assets and attractions.

The Herald: The Burrell Collection is due to reopen its doors next MarchThe Burrell Collection is due to reopen its doors next March

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Mr McDonald said the funding was born from many years of campaigning and cultural diplomacy by Glasgow Life, as well as representations to both the UK and Scottish governments about the national and international significance of Glasgow’s museums and the city’s collection.

He said: “When it first opened in 1983, the Burrell Collection was recognised as a bold statement of how Glasgow would reset its global reputation and create social and economic benefits through culture. The museum has gone on to command both international respect and local affection, and it has enriched the city socially, culturally and economically.”
Mr McDonald said the £3m package for the museum would also help attract visitors from around the world to Scotland.

“It will allow us to welcome back Glaswegians in record numbers, as well as help us engage with new audiences and show them why the Burrell Collection is one of a kind and worth their time, interest, and lasting understanding and appreciation,” he added.

The Herald: The Herald has been campaigning for a fairer funding deal for the cityThe Herald has been campaigning for a fairer funding deal for the city

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The first instalment of cash is due to be paid when the facility reopens to the public next year after five years of closure.

Around £5m of the restoration and renovation funding came from the UK Government, with the same amount coming from the Scottish Government.

Glasgow Life, the arms-length council organisation that runs the city’s culture and leisure services on behalf of the city council, lost £38m last year due to the pandemic. Its predicted income for 2021/2022 is just £6.4m. Since the easing of Covid-19 restrictions only 90 of its 171 venues have reopened.

While Glasgow City Council has reached an agreement for Glasgow Life to receive a guaranteed £100m a year for the next three or four years, the organisation will not be able to open the rest of its venues without more funding.

Mr McDonald will hold talks next month with Maree Todd, Minister for Public Health, Women’s Health and Sport. The meeting will focus on partnership working with the Scottish Government, particularly over the contribution of Glasgow Life services to health and local and national recovery.

A Scottish Government spokesperson said the UK Government’s announcement of support for Glasgow’s Burrell Collection follows the Scottish Government’s £5.75 million funding for the project, including £750,000 to help cover the Burrell Collection’s increased project costs caused by the Coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis. 

The spokesman added: “A total of £31 million of outstanding culture consequentials was signalled for the Scottish Government, following extra spending commitments made by the UK Government in March 2021 increasing the value of the Culture Recovery Fund. If the Chancellor really wants to support a cultural recovery in Scotland he should start by settling this outstanding matter. Scottish Government Ministers would be more than happy to meet him on the issue. 

“As the Chancellor will note, the Scottish Parliament roundly rejected the internal market legislation which the UK Government is now using to provide funding for the Burrell Collection, by-passing the Scottish Parliament and fundamentally undermining devolution.”