Museum blockbusters may end with Brexit

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Leading UK museums may be unable to stage the major exhibitions that attract visitors from all over the world if there is a no-deal Brexit.

V&A director Tristram Hunt has warned that leaving with no agreements cold mean staff cuts, £25m import tax bills for loaned objects, reductions in research capability and fewer visitors. 

“The big one for us is how a no-deal Brexit would affect putting on exhibitions and taking our exhibitions around the world. Our ability to hold blockbuster exhibitions while having to pay import duties would be really problematic” he said. “Our ability to promote British soft power and influence through exhibitions like David Bowie Is and Pink Floyd would be seriously compromised.

“Four in five visitors to London come for the culture, and they are drawn by great museums and world class exhibitions. It is also potentially damaging for British influence abroad.”

The V&A is one of a number of leading tourist attractions in London to warn that leaving the EU without a deal in place could result in a loss of staff, huge import tax bills and cuts to research grants.

But insisting that that there would be a satisfactory conclusion to Brexit negotiations, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) spokesman said: “Like a range of institutions, museums are taking a responsible approach to the UK’s exit from the European Union, by modelling potential impacts on business operations, including workforce and visitor numbers. We are working closely with them to ensure they are fully supported”.


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