Kew funding pegged for 2007/08

Effective cut of £½m for botanic gardens

By Matthew Appleby Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew has had its funding pegged at £25.2m for 2007/08, which translates into a cut of around £500,000 throughout the garden. Kew head of PR Sue Runyard said: “It does effectively mean a little cut but the rate of inflation is very low so it will be a fraction across the board.” She added that the garden was still budgeting where cuts might take place. Last year visitor numbers fell by 10 per cent after 2005’s “Chihuly effect” when an exhibition by the US glass sculptor attracted huge numbers to Kew. Runyard said that had been taken into account when planning for 2006. This autumn Kew will host an “experimental” Henry Moore sculpture exhibition. It will be the garden’s first big winter visitor offering. Runyard said: “We’ll be a hostage to fortune but hopefully it will be a success.” UK inflation was at 2.7 per cent in March. Kew receives 59 per cent of its funding from DEFRA. Visitor numbers dropped to 1.357m in 2006. A DEFRA representative said: “Funding to Kew for 2007/08 was announced in December 2006 and amounts to £25.2m. This is the same level as the 2006/07 allocation, which was the result of a reduction of £600,000 (3.3 per cent) on the original allocation. “We remain committed to supporting the excellent work of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. “DEFRA’s funding of its executive agencies and sponsored bodies is regularly reviewed to ensure it reflects our current priorities.”

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