Angus Council U-turn on museum job cuts

Montrose Musuem was one of those where staffing and hours were to be cut.
Montrose Musuem was one of those where staffing and hours were to be cut.

Staff at museums in Montrose and Angus feared their jobs could be on the line but the threat of job cuts has not materialised.

As part of budget cuts for 2015-16 Angus Council had planned to reduce opening hours across seven council-run galleries and museums, as well as axing one assistant post at each museum in Montrose, Brechin, Arbroath and Kirriemuir, which would have saved £42,000.

However, the local authority has taken a U-turn and the museum assistants posts will not be cut.

Sue Hampson, assistant at Montrose Museum, said: “We are obviously pleased. We like a bit of stability.”

Instead, to save the money a post within the sports development unit that was vacated will not be filled, saving £21,312; a galleries post which had hours extended to 36.25 hour will be reduced back to the original of 14.5, saving £13,297; a cleaner/caretaker in the museums will have their hours reduced from 18.25 to 10 to save £3,923; and a planned Saturday assistant role will now not be needed, saving £3,295.

This means a saving of £41,827.

Montrose Councillor David May said: “I am delighted that the SNP administration have done a U-turn on not making massive cuts they had planned on museum jobs and hours.

“This change came about following a meeting with staff and has meant we have kept our front line staff in post and the council have found the savings elsewhere.”

Lib Dem Angus campaigner Sanjay Samani said: “This is very good news as the planned cuts would have had a devastating affect on the museum service we offer but it is a great pity this change was not considered earlier as this must also have been appalling for the staff whose jobs were under threat.”

Mr May added: “I am personally well aware of the very quality staff we have in our museum service across the county, and in particular in Montrose through visiting their exhibitions, but also due to the role they played in the superb exhibition that they put together for the 450 years of Montrose Golf Links when I chaired the 450 colf committee.

“As I am now involved in planning the bicentenary exhibition of Montrose Academy I am delighted that there will be no cut in the hours and staffing.

“Putting these exhibitions together is expensive and it would be more difficult to attract funding if the hours the museums are open are cut, so the U-turn is welcomed.”