JOBS could be at risk at Big Pit and other National Museum of Wales centres following the announcement that the organisation is set to axe at least 90 job after a massive cut in funding.

Jane Richardson, chief executive of Museum Wales – which has seven sites around the country – has warned that a £4.5m reduction in its budget is giving it the ‘difficult’ task of balancing the book

She warned that the financial difficulties could see museums charging for visitors for special events such as tours and exhibitions, and closing earlier in the winter, although she stopped short of reintroducing charging for entry saying the move would lead to the loss of tax advantage

Museum Wales heard late last year that its  grant was to be cut by £3m which comes on top of a year-on-year deficit of £1.5m, meaning it is now facing a deficit of £4.5m which could see more than 90 jobs going across the organisation.

Museum Wales runs six other sites across Wales in addition to The National Coal Museum in Blaenavon  near Abergavenny – National Museum Cardiff; St Fagans National Museum of History, Cardiff; National Waterfront Museum, Swansea; National Slate Museum, in Llanberis, Gwynedd; National Wool Museum, near Newcastle Emlyn, Carmarthenshire; and National Roman Legion Museum, Caerleon, Newport.

Among the casualties of the funding cut could be one of the most iconic buildings in Wales, the National Museum in Cardiff, which could be forced to close because of its deteriorating condition.

Speaking at a press conference in Ebbw Vale recently new First Minister Vaughan Gething  said he would not step in to help with the situation at the National Museum in Cardiff, saying his priority was the NHS and educatio

Responding to the threat to Wales’ national museums and the threat to the Cardiff flagship, Tom Giffard MS, Shadow Minister for Culture, Tourism and Sport, said: “This news is concerning not just for the individuals who will be impacted, but for all of us.

 “Disproportionate funding cuts are putting the preservation of our shared heritage at risk, while the Labour Welsh Government prioritises money for more politician.

 “The Labour Welsh Government should scrap its vanity projects and use those funds to protect our cultural history. It’s frankly very rich for a Labour First Minister to talk about priorities.

 “Funding does have to be prioritised, and tough choices have to be made, which is why it’s all the more frustrating to see the Labour Welsh Government spend so much on their vanity projects, while one of our flagship museums falls into ruin.

 “The First Minister must reconsider this decision and step in to protect our Welsh heritage.” The Welsh Liberal Democrats have also called on the Welsh Government to ensure that the National Museum of Wales will not be forced to close.

The Leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats, Jane Dodds MS, said: “It is deeply troubling that there is a real possibility that we here in Wales will be without a national museum soon.

“We as a country rightfully pride ourselves on our rich cultural history, and buildings like the National Museum in Cardiff allow us to celebrate this with the rest of the world.

“To allow the closing of such a culturally significant building would be nothing short of a national disgrace from the Welsh Government, who have so far failed to show any real desire to safeguard Wales heritage and history.

“We must find a way to stop this devastating closure and to preserve the museum in the long-term so that future generations are able to experience Wales' cultural heritage.”