Proposals to amend the law on Gift Aid have been greeted with dismay by museums across the country. At present eligible museums can offer free admission in exchange for entrance donations, enabling them to reclaim tax on those donations; Under new legislation, this will be disallowed, though annual memberships are likely to remain eligible for Gift Aid.
The amendment will particularly affect small museums and trusts, already struggling to compete with national museums offering free admission. Paul Gossage of the Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust (pictured), which operates ten museums in Shropshire, said, “It’s going to be an enormous blow to us, as we will lose approximately £100,000 of revenue annually.” The Trust had over 250,000 visitors last year, of whom 10% paid through Gift Aid. He continued: “It would cause us to look at staffing budgets; curatorial, administrative and education positions could be under threat.”