Nearly a third of AIM members completed last September’s survey on the impact of the cost-of-living crisis. It highlighted the difficulties facing independent museums as inflation and energy prices surge whilst visitor numbers continue to lag behind projections. Whilst resilience and reserves are supporting in the short term some museums through the current difficult economic climate, the survey underlines a need by many for medium to long-term support.
Key findings included:
- 14 respondents reported being at risk of insolvency, two imminently.
- 70% of organisations reported still having three or more months of unrestricted reserves.
- About half of museums found visitors and income over summer were either similar to projections or up to 29% below. Just under a third had visitor figures and income significantly below projections.
- Half of responding museums believed they can absorb cost-of-living pressures in the short- but not long-term.
- Energy costs were the main pressure (70% of organisations).
- On average, organisations reported that energy bills were just over 20% of income, with rises of about 45% expected in the next 6-12 months. However, this average masks a massive range, with 34 organisations reporting they expect rises of over 90%. There are also significant differences in cash amounts, which range from the hundreds to high six figures.
- About half of organisations were still in fixed contracts, with around a third of these ending in the next six months.
- 90% of organisations were planning actions to tackle cost pressures, with the most common steps being trying to increase income, using reserves, reducing energy consumption, and reducing costs such as L&D.
- 40% of organisations have or plan to scale down activity including reducing public offer, reducing events, or delaying or cancelling gallery refreshes and capital projects. Just over a third of organisations did not think increasing income would be possible given economy-wide pressures.
- About one in six is planning restructure or redundancies.
- About half of organisations are expecting visitors and income to be below projections to the end of March 2023 (however, a sizeable part of the sample did report regular closure over the winter months).
For the detailed survey results follow this link: https://aim-museums.co.uk/seeking-certainty/