12 July 2021

PCS opposes George Osborne's appointment as chair of the British Museum

The appointment is a slap in the face to the hundreds of staff who have seen a decade of pay freezes and attacks on terms and conditions as a result of his policies as chancellor.

PCS members at the British Museum have reacted with anger that the Trustees have appointed George Osborne as their chair. For over a decade now the austerity politics, of which he was a principal architect, have devastated the museum and the wider culture sector. For him to be honoured with the appointment demonstrates a total lack of care about the impact of his policies on staff. Whether it is privatisation, casualisation or the public sector pay freeze, there is not a single PCS member at the museum who has not been adversely affected by callous decisions made my Mr Osborne.

Across the wider sector, his ideologically driven obsession with commercialisation has left arts and culture on the brink of collapse. Osborne's tenure as chancellor saw not only huge cuts in real terms to Museums and Galleries Grant in Aid, but also the slashing of funding for arts and cultural education, denying young people from working class and black communities any prospect of a career in the sector. 

PCS is clear that the actions of Mr Osborne while he was chancellor should be condemned. The reports that his appointment was unanimous is extremely disappointing. It will be seen by many as a validation of his actions and the ruination of the sector that they have caused.

In spite of this decision by the British Museum, PCS will continue to fight for a fully funded and inclusive culture sector.