Marlyn Glen MSP

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Scottish Labour MSP for North East Scotland

Victoria and Albert Museum extension in Dundee : MSP queries Scottish Government on its financial support

23 January 2009

Marlyn Glen is writing to Culture Minister Linda Fabiani asking if the Scottish Government will give a commitment to contribute towards the funding of a proposed Dundee exhibiting extension of the Victoria and Albert Museum, whose capital costs, it has now emerged, could be as high as £47.6 million.

The figures are contained in the Conran & Partners report “The V&A at Dundee”

Ms. Glen, who supports the project, said that this “ambitious partnership” between Dundee and the V&A was first mooted in April 2007.

She said,

” A V&A base in the city would without doubt energise the re-designing of the city’s cultural image for the 21st century.

“To achieve this, the Scottish Government has to make it quite clear what its financial role in this project would be.

“The report said that one of the ‘prime risks’ to creating 900 new jobs from the new V&A offshoot were the capital costs of over £47 million.

“It says that one possible source of capital funding is ‘the Scottish Government’.

“It say ‘a project of this kind, if it has significant government backing, could also attract significant support from the private sector, and that this could extend to a capital endowment fund to generate part of the continuing costs as well as to construction of the building itself.’

” I am asking the Scottish Government if it intends to finance the V&A extension, and if it will guarantee that it will close any gap in funding between the amount raised and the amount required for the project.”

Ms. Glen said that she was raising at the same time the issue of the funding of the McManus Galleries.

“Last year, the Scottish Government ruled out any further financial assistance for the refurbishment of the city’s magnificent McManus Galleries.

” I am asking them again to re-consider their “No” decision on more money for the McManus Galleries.

” If the Scottish Government are to finance the V&A venture in Dundee, but continue to ignore the McManus, answers will be demanded as to why fund one but not the other?”

Ms. Glen says that the report also identifies as a key condition for the success of the project is “good integration into a high-quality waterfront development by 2015.”

She said,

“If the V&A were to open in 2013, there would be two years to achieve this aim of ‘good integration’

“This is another commitment on resources that has to be made and met by the Scottish Government towards the city which I shall be raising with them.”

 

 

Quotes from the report :

“If construction were to start in the second quarter of 2011 and the museum to open in the autumn of 2013, then on the inflation assumptions used here (4.5% a year for construction costs, 3.5% a year for staff costs and 2.5% a year for all other costs and for revenues), the capital cost in current values would be some £47.6m, the operating subsidy of the order of £2.1m a year and the cost of refreshing and refurbishing the fixtures and fittings some £0.8m a year….(Summary page 3)” The City’s main contribution to the project will be to provide a service plot within the Waterfront Masterplan Area at nil cost. The first set of possible sources of capital funding (and/or an endowment of property) therefore consists of:

• the Scottish Government;

• Heritage Lottery Fund;

” We think, though we have not yet investigated this in any depth, that a project of this kind, if it has significant government backing, could also attract significant support from the private sector, and that this could extend to a capital endowment fund to generate part of the continuing costs as well as to construction of the building itself. The largest contribution may come from a single donor after whom the building can be named.” ( Section 8.5 Financing issues page 41)” Preliminary indications suggest that on the basis of the standard multipliers used by ScottishEnterprise a project of this scale could add around 900 new jobs, £5.4m extra output a year (£4.7m of which would be in Dundee) and £2m extra income a year to the Scottish economy (over £1.4m of which would be in Dundee).

“The prime risks to these forecasts are in the capital cost projections and the number of visitors. ( Summary page 3)“The success of the

project, and these financial projections, will require the fulfilment of a number of key conditions.

These are that:

• the cultural attractions in Dundee will collaborate;

• there will be radical improvements to the visitor infrastructure (e.g. rail/airport links as well as

within the waterfront development itself);

there will be good integration into a high-quality waterfront development by 2015; (Summary , page 3)

 

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