Public and Commercial Services Union
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Secure future needed for culture not 'vandalistic cuts'

A secure future for the Department for Culture, Media and Sports must be confirmed to protect free access to the arts and allay fears for staff.

Following media reports about speculation that DCMS will be abolished after the Olympics and Paralympics, the union has today written to the permanent secretary Jonathan Stephens to ask him to assure his staff that the department will remain.

The letter states: "The ambition by some to wish to see DCMS consigned to the scrap heap is hugely misguided, and will leave the UK as the only European country without a culture ministry."

It adds: "The work this department has done since inception has been truly astounding, and staff have played a key role. For example, digital switchover is now underway in the most seamless fashion - largely thanks to DCMS.

"We have a golden goose here. It needs to be nurtured and not culled to suit a petty minded and narrow political agenda."

  Letter to DCMS permanent secretary

The union points out that eight of the top 10 most visited UK tourist attractions are free DCMS-sponsored national museums, and that in the 10 years since free admission was introduced, visits have increased by 150%. There are now 18 million visits a year - 8.3 million of which were by children - to museums that used to charge.

Visits from adults and children in lower socio-economic groups have declined since DCMS funding for museums and galleries was cut by 15% in the government's latest spending review in October 2010, the union adds.

PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said: "Closing DCMS would be a disaster for our cultural heritage, our economy and the hundreds of public servants who are working hard to maintain world-class services amid vandalistic government cuts.

"With the eyes of the world on the UK this summer, it would bring shame on ministers if they simply cast these staff aside. The government must confirm immediately that DCMS's future is secure and allay concerns for staff and the rest of us who depend on a well resourced, publicly funded culture department."

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