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Museums and Galleries: Free Admission

Volume 463: debated on Monday 23 July 2007

14. To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what assessment he has made of the effect of free admission to national museums and galleries on the number and range of visitors to such institutions. (151108)

Free museum admission for children was introduced by this Government eight years ago in April 1999. Since then the number of child visits to former charging sponsored museums in England has increased by 76 per cent. This represents an extra 12 million visits over this period.

Since the introduction of universal free access to former charging sponsored museums in England in December 2001, there has been an 87 per cent. increase in visits. This represents an extra 6 million visits a year or 29 million visits over the five years since entry charges were abolished.

Over the same period, the proportion of visits by people from black and multi-ethnic backgrounds has increased by around 54 per cent. while trend data collected between 2002-03 and 2004-05 shows that visits by people from C2DE social groups rose by 21 per cent. or 1.2 million additional visits.