Page last updated at 15:09 GMT, Friday, 28 November 2008

Bail out agreed for design centre

The Lighthouse (photo from Page & Park Architects)
The Lighthouse will be given a 250,000 loan to clear its deficit

Scotland's centre for architecture and design has been given extra funding to cope with cash flow problems.

The Lighthouse, based in Glasgow, is to be given a 50,000 increase in core funding by Glasgow City Council.

It will also be given a 250,000 loan to clear its deficit and help to increase its commercial revenue.

The Scottish Government has also agreed to make its funding more flexible - a move which is currently only available for specific projects.

This will allow The Lighthouse to undertake a wider range of projects and still qualify for government funding.

A business plan, drawn up by The Lighthouse board, was ratified by Glasgow City Council's Executive Committee on Friday.

It means The Lighthouse's funding partners - the council, Scottish Government and Scottish Enterprise - have all agreed on a new strategy to keep the centre afloat.

The Lighthouse plays an important role in the city's cultural life and we are keen to see this new set-up succeed. But we will be monitoring its financial situation closely
Councillor George Ryan
Glasgow City Council
Under the terms of the deal, the council will raise core funding in 2009/2010 from 110,000 to 160,000.

The 250,000 loan will be payable over 10 years at commercial interest rates.

The council has also agreed to fund redevelopment work at The Lighthouse aimed at boosting its commercial activity, which currently raises 1.5m annually.

This will bring the centre's level one gallery back into the public realm and free up its fourth floor gallery for income raising ventures.

Scottish Enterprise has also agreed to support The Lighthouse's business programme.

Executive Committee member, Councillor George Ryan, said the rescue deal would secure the future of an important institution.

"The Lighthouse has experienced an unusual combination of financial difficulties this year," he said.

"It has implemented a new business model which will make it more commercially viable and we have been assured that it is taking steps to restructure to allow it to cope with challenges it's facing.

'Major setbacks'

"The Lighthouse plays an important role in the city's cultural life and we are keen to see this new set-up succeed. But we will be monitoring its financial situation closely."

Eleanor McAllister, chair of The Lighthouse Trust, added: "The grant agreed today to develop the Mitchell Lane building will ensure that the Mackintosh masterpiece is open to Glaswegians and visitors, and that The Lighthouse Trust is well placed to operate through the credit crunch."

Last month, The Lighthouse confirmed that it had suffered two major setbacks in relation to its finances.

One of these involved a decision by the Scottish Government not to invest in future Six Cities Design Festivals.

The Lighthouse said it had retained the expertise of the core team to undertake development work, and these costs and associated redundancy costs had been a major contributing factor towards the loss.

The centre also agreed to put together the Scottish stand at the 2008 Venice Design Biennale programme.

This generated "unanticipated costs" which were not covered by the Scottish Government grant for the project.

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SEE ALSO
Delay to design centre bail out
31 Oct 08 |  Glasgow, Lanarkshire and West
Design centre facing cash crisis
28 Oct 08 |  Glasgow, Lanarkshire and West

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