Cuts to archive team are ‘fatal’ - The Evesham Observer

Cuts to archive team are ‘fatal’

Evesham Editorial 18th Jan, 2019   0

“IT’S a death sentence” – that’s the verdict on plans to cut £405,000 – 60 per cent of the total – from the budget of Worcestershire County Council’s awarding winning Archive and Archaeological Service.

David Connolly of the British Archaeology News service said the countywide unit, based at The Hive, will be on a quarter of the budget it had in 2010 and if this latest cut goes through it will finish the service off completely.

“There seems to be this idea they can apply for grants to tide them over, but what the politicians don’t appear to realise is that the service has already applied for, and got, everything they can get their hands on,” he said.

“The majority of staff don’t cost the council taxpayer a penny.

“Over the last five years the Worcestershire Archive and Archaeology Service has won millions of pounds in grants from Historic England, the Heritage Lottery Fund, the Arts Council, the National Archives and commercial developers.”

County Hall is making cuts to meet the rising cost of adult social care and childrens services but Mr Connolly said it was a false economy to target the Archive and Archaeological Service.

“The £405,000 flayed from budget equates to a saving of £0.69 per resident per annum. The cuts to the service comprise 0.18 per cent of the council’s social care expenditure,” he said.

“If the argument was, for example, to have councillors explain: ‘sorry, but cutting your budget will enable us to properly fund children’s services’, the surviving members of the service would be disappointed but understanding.

“However, the problem is that you can cut everything, absolutely everything, and still not scratch the surface of the scale of the problem in funding social care.

“Worcestershire County Council feels it has no option but to cut everything, whilst knowing that without a major rethink by central government, this is a sticking plaster on a festering sore.

“By their own calculations, even after this latest decimation of services, the increase in social care funding needed to meet future demands will still leave them £27.6 million in the red by 2022.”

He described The Hive as not just a building but also something that actually represents Worcestershire.

With 12 miles of shelving comprising the county’s documentary history, it offers access to county archaeological records and planning advice on archaeological matters.

Past successes include telling the story of the First World War in Worcestershire, bringing woolly mammoths to the museum and digging into the city’s historic past, while in 2017, the service archivists at the Hive were voted Record-Keeping Service of the Year.

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