NICK Clegg has made an ‘urgent’ plea to the Arts Council for talks about finding alternative funding for troubled Museums Sheffield.
The trust, which runs the Millennium Galleries, Graves Gallery and Weston Park Museum, lost out on a bid for £4.2 million over the next three years under the Arts Council’s Renaissance programme.
The trust fears up to 45 jobs could go, educational work could be scaled down, and Sheffield’s role hosting touring national and international exhibitions could end as a result.
Deputy Prime Minister and Sheffield Hallam MP Nick Clegg said: “I share the disappointment of many people on hearing that Museums Sheffield has been unsuccessful in its recent bid for Arts Council funding.
“I know the hugely important role Museums Sheffield plays in protecting and promoting the cultural heritage of our city.
“What we can now do is make the case for Sheffield. I am urgently seeking a meeting with Arts Council England so I can discuss the decision face to face.”
He added: “I also know the benefits for Sheffield had this bid been successful. “That’s why I wrote to Arts Council England in my role as a Sheffield MP before the decision was made in order to make the case for Museums Sheffield’s bid.”
Sheffield’s Labour MPs are also pressing the Arts Council to find alternative cash for Museums Sheffield.
The Arts Council still has to allocate £69 million of funds over the next three years.
Even before the decision to reject Museums Sheffield’s bid, figures obtained by The Star show Sheffield receives the lowest grant per head of population from the Arts Council of any major British city - just £4.62.