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Budget 2001 Wednesday, 7 March, 2001, 16:23 GMT
Museums and galleries will be free
Science Museum
The Science Museum will drop its charges
National museums and galleries in England will have their entrance fees abolished.

Chancellor of the Exchequer Gordon Brown made the announcement in the Budget, changing the VAT laws to fulfil the pledge.

"The government's policy is for free museums," he told the House of Commons. "We will change the law on VAT to make that possible."

Institutions such as the Victoria and Albert Museum, the Natural History Museum and the Science Museum, all of which are in London, are among those thought to be affected.

Details of the scheme will be anounced by Culture Secretary Chris Smith at a later date.

VAT worry

Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland have their own funding policies in place for museums and galleries.

The government's decision follows a long battle between the Department for Culture, Media and Sport and the Treasury over who will foot the bill.

The government has long been an advocate of free entry, but museums and galleries had complained they would lose valuable VAT rebates if entrance fees were dropped altogether.

Subsidy

The DCMS had already agreed to subsidise national museums in England, in a deal which would allow them to drop most entry fees to 1 from September this year.

The new deal means some visitors can save up to 9 on each visit to one of England's national museums and galleries.

The government also announced the continuation of the tax relief initiative for film production.

"It is contributing to unprecedented success now enjoyed by independent British films," said Mr Brown

The tax relief will cost 50m a year until 2005.


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24 Jan 01 | Entertainment
18 Jan 01 | UK Politics
03 Apr 00 | UK
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