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University museums, galleries, and collections in Scotland are facing a 20% reduction in the grants they receive from the funding body for higher education in 2024/25, while those with unrecognised collections will not receive any support.

The Scottish Funding Council (SFC) said it had reduced the budget by 26% from £1.2m in 2023/24 to £884,000 in 2024/25 in response to a “particularly challenging” budget.

University museums that do not hold recognised collections will be removed entirely from the grant allocation, while institutions with recognised collections will see their grants reduced by 20%.

Museums Galleries Scotland said the cut would “halt excellent collaborative work”, while University Museums in Scotland (UMIS) has written to SFC to reverse the move. 

UMIS told the Museums Association that the cut was made without consultation or impact assessment. They warned that the decision would put Scottish institutions in a worse position than the rest of the UK, notably as Research England has awarded a 20% uplift in its Higher Education Museums, Galleries, and Collections Fund.

A spokesperson for the Scottish Funding Council said: “We understand the value of the university museums, galleries and collections. However, in the context of a particularly challenging budget settlement, we cannot afford to fund everything, and we have had to make some very difficult choices.

“We will continue to invest £884,000 in supporting university museums, galleries and collections which have Recognised Collections of National Significance to Scotland as designated and supported by the Museums Galleries Scotland Recognition Scheme.”