Finance: VAT refunds help more museums

The Chancellor, Gordon Brown, has allowed two more museums to reclaim their VAT bills.

The National Football Museum in Preston and the People's History Museum in Manchester will benefit from the VAT refund scheme that has already allowed many national museums and galleries, including the British Museum and the National Gallery, to provide free public access.

Brown's decision will entitle the National Football Museum to reclaim up to £70,000 a year from its annual VAT bills while maintaining free entry.

The People's History Museum will remove all admission charges as a result of the ruling.

The refund scheme was introduced in 2001 to help the Government achieve its policy of allowing free admission to museums and galleries.

Institutions were previously forced to charge for admission in order to reclaim the VAT they incurred. The refund scheme reimburses the VAT costs they incur, provided they grant free access to their major collections.

"The policy of promoting free access to the main national museums and galleries has been a huge success, with attendances up across the board," said Brown.

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