Written evidence submitted by the British
Library (arts 87)
The following submission from the British
Library seeks to answer a number of the questions put forward
by the Committee.
We have made suggestions as to whether
the current system, and structure, of funding distribution is
the right one; how arts organisations could work more closely
together; whether businesses and philanthropists should play a
long-term role in funding arts at a national and local level;
and if there should be more government incentives to encourage
In our response we detailed the funding
model of the Library and suggested ways for the government to
amend the structure of funding distribution, such as allowing
the Board to make its own appointments in order to increase fundraising
potential. We also detailed ways for the government to encourage
more private donations such as simplifying the Gift Aid rules
and addressing the tax rules for living authors. We concluded
that the Library is very different in its fundraising potential
from other cultural institutions and already employs a mixed economy
1. The British Library was established by
statute in 1972 as the national library of the United Kingdom.
It is one of the world's greatest research librariesit
benefits from legal deposit and is the main custodian of the nation's
written cultural heritage. The Library's incomparable collections
have developed over 250 years; they cover three millennia of recorded
knowledge, represent every known written language, every aspect
of human thought and a sizeable sound, music and recordings archive.
The British Library plays a vital role in the life of the nation
as a cultural heritage resource by:
managing, preserving, and ensuring access
in perpetuity to the UK's national published archive and the national
repository of sound
comprising an integral component of both
the national research infrastructure and the UK Science Base
playing a correspondingly significant
role in ensuring the research excellence of the UK.
2. The British Library contains a vast array
of inspirational material and expertise that supports every sector
from the creative industries to science, technology and medicine;
small businesses to major pharmaceutical companies; school children
to lifelong learners; academics to authors:
Through the services of our Business
& Intellectual Property Centre, we support entrepreneurs and
SMEs in developing, protecting and exploiting their ideas, and
in growing their businesses.
Through our learning programme we provide
£1m worth of resources to 1.2 m teachers and school students
who visit our learning website each year.
We support the Government's lifelong
learning policies by providing resources to everyone who wants
to do research; 43 per cent of people using our newspaper collections
are personal researchers doing genealogy or local history projects.
We supply 100 per cent of the world's top 100
R&D spenders in industry with our document supply service.
3. The British Library is a world class
cultural institution. The Library's collections and expertise
are used daily by authors, scientists, TV and film producers,
business people, academics, genealogists and local historians,
making a vital contribution to the UK knowledge economy. For £95
million a year from the tax payerjust £3.72 eachthe
Library contributes wide ranging economic and social benefit to
the UK, supporting all parts of the economy including culture,
industry, business, learning, creative industries, international
development, science technology and medicine, and higher education.
We also help ourselves to the tune of £22 million a year20%
of our total fundsthrough commercial income and fundraising.
An innovative public sector body, we have pioneered new business
models to support our public funding. For every £1 of public
funding, the British Library generates £4.40 for the UK economy.
4. The British Library's main source of
funding is the Grant-in-Aid we receive from DCMS. Since the early
1970s, the British Library has supplemented Government funding
with other sources of income in a mixed economy including philanthropy,
commercial revenue generation, and partnerships (eg from research
The following points seek to answer some of
the questions raised by the Committee inquiry.
Is the current system, and structure, of funding
distribution the right one?
5. The Library believes that cultural institutions
need to innovate and plan strategically for the future. In order
to do this we would argue that there is need for a more open,
mature and constructive relationship as far as central government's
relationship with NDPBs and local government is concerned, one that
is more long-term and risk-based.
6. For the British Library this might include:
Secure and stable public funding the
provision of secure and stable public funding over five years
(avoiding the trend of annularity and associated micromanagement)
Establish pricing and charging policiesthe
freedom to establish pricing and charging policies without recourse
to the Secretary of State
more cross-departmental working, breaking down departmental silos
Borrow in a responsible way - the freedom
to borrow in a responsible way for investment, such decisions
to be taken on the basis of cost efficiency
Carry-overthe removal of restrictions
on carry-over from one year to the next (EYF)
Set up trading companiesthe power
to set up trading companies and the power to establish its
own terms and conditions
Joint venturesthe removal of restrictions
on participation in, and delegation to, joint ventures
Capital project expenditurethe
removal of requirements to seek specific approval for capital
project expenditure / submission of option appraisals
Freedom to operatefreedom to operate
outwith other existing public sector requirements as appropriate
Pay negotiating remitthe full
freedom to establish its own pay negotiating remit
The Boardthe power for the Board
to appoint its own members; the full participation of the Board
in the appointment of its Chair. This would facilitate more integration
and support for fundraising activity at Board level.
Reservesthe freedom to use our
How can arts organisations work more closely together?
7. By leveraging our strengths through new
business models and innovative partnerships and being open to
engagement with the public, commercial and third sectors, the
British Library is taking steps to increase innovation, productivity
8. We have helped ourselves through agreeing
a series of partnerships with the public and private sector, including
the arts, and have been successful in attracting external investment
to supplement our GiA to enable us to digitise important parts
of the collection and make these accessible electronically. This
has involved innovative working with a number of partners both
in the public and private sector. Some examples of these success
stories are shown below:
MOU with the BBC. The MOU seeks to develop
new ways of integrating access to nearly a million hours of BBC
TV and radio content and over 150 million British Library itemssignificantly
increasing access to research material across both national institutions
for the benefit of researchers and the wider public. It also proposes
that the BBC and British Library collaborate to develop viable
approaches on important issues -such as rights management, distribution
of archive content, digitisation and storage.
Society of Chief Librarians. The public
library service is an integral part of the wider library network
and the British Library fully supports its aim to be vital and
relevant in the 21st Century. The Library believes that public
libraries have a key role to play: in the free exchange of information
and access to knowledge in support of active citizens in a democracy;
in supporting literacy and digital literacy; and in informal and
We support the public library network through
our document supply and bibliographic services and work closely
with the Society of Chief Librarians (SCL) to ensure robust representation
of the sector through advocating the value of Library services.
MOU with the Joint Information Systems
Committee. We have attracted £4m of funding from the Joint
Information Systems Committee (JISC) and the National Science
Foundation (NSF) to increase onluine access to our collections
for research education.
Online publishing. brightsolid, part
of DC Thomson publishing has recently invested in a £40m
project to digitise up to 40 million pages of Newspapers from
our collection, unlocking the nation's newspaper collection digitally.
Digitisation. We worked with Microsoft
on a £5m project to digitise 19th century books. These books
are now available to download free onto the Kindle ebook reader
Commercial publishers including Cengage
Gale and Proquest have, over the past 10 years, invested tens
of millions of pounds and in kind support for the creation of
digitised assets from the Library's collectionsnow owned
by the nation.
In kind investment. The British Library
Business & IP Centre opened in March 2006 with a grant of
£1.2m from the London Development Agency (LDA) with a further
£2.4m for the period April 2007March 2011. The Centre
is match-funded by a British Library contribution of £2.3m
per year and has helped 150,000 small business people since it
opened. The Centre has attracted £8.2m of in kind support
since the Centre opened.
Centre for Conservation. The Library
works with arts and educational organisations to promote conservation
skills which are internationally renowned. For example Camberwell
College of Arts offers a two-year Book Conservation course developed
in collaboration with the British Library. The course has been
created to help address the need to increase the number of conservators
specialising in the field of book conservation.
How can businesses and philanthropists play a
long-term role in funding arts at a national and local level?
9. Library fundraising has been established
over the last decade to source philanthropic and sponsorship income
to supplement our public funding. Our success has been built on
developing long-term relationships with a number of individuals,
charitable trusts and businesses and we will continue to cement relationships
and further develop existing ones. In addition, sustainability
is a key issue for corporate, individual and trust funders as
they focus on the long term impact of their support. This is
an important part of the British Library's mixed economy funding
10. In the Library's experience donors like
to support specific projects which have visibility within the
organisation. Fundraising can therefore help us develop our programmes,
but they cannot help us fund the core costs of running the Library.
11. Examples of our recent successes in
philanthropy and sponsorship are:
Heritage Acquisitions. We have saved
for the nation numerous treasuresfor example, Sherborne
Missal, My Ladye Nevell's Booke, Sforza Hoursthrough matching
private donations with GiA and grants from the Heritage Lottery
Fund (HLF) and the National Heritage Memorial Fund (NHMF). In
total, since 1983 we have leveraged £15m from the HLF and
Greek Manuscripts Online. We have secured
approximately £1m from a major Greek foundation to create
an online resource of our Greek treasures. In return for the Foundation's
support, we have provided some strategic advice to the National
Library of Greece and have involved colleagues there in our online
British Library Centre for Conservation.
We were successful in raising the matching sum of £6m towards
this state-of-the art facility which opened in 2007 and has helped
us to gain international recognition as world leaders in book
and manuscript conservation.
Manuscript collections. For every £1
of GiA we attract £1.60 from philanthropic sources, linked
to Manuscripts, to supplement our income.
PACCAR Gallery. We secured a gift of
£1m to re-name our temporary exhibitions gallery, after our
first, corporate naming arrangement came to an end.
The British Library Learning Centre The
Library will shortly be opening the Harry M. Weinrebe Learning
Centre which has been fully funded through private donations.
The Centre will deliver academic excellence by supporting the
national curriculum and giving learners the skills to work with
original source material in the digital age.
£500,000 was raised through fundraising
activity by the Library's Development Office, which took approximately
three years to achieve. With support from the Dorset Foundation,
John Lyon's Charity, the Wolfson Foundation, British Library Patrons
and an anonymous donor, the Harry M Weinrebe Centre offers an
expanded, refurbished and fully digital enabled space to help
schools to deliver national curriculum subjects to A-level and
CPD opportunities for teachers. It will also be a hub for the
community and family programme and will allow the British Library
to deliver a national programme supporting the development of
digital research skills.
Does there need to be more Government incentives
to encourage private donations?
12. The following points provide suggestions
as to how the government could encourage a more conducive market
(a) Gift aid reform
Simplifying the Gift Aid process would make
it easier for donors who are higher rate tax payers to claim the
tax benefits due to them. In addition, the current system requires
donors to opt in to Gift Aid: encouraging donors to opt-out instead
could increase the number of donors signing up to Gift Aiding
their gift and simplify administration. We think that a composite
rate of Gift Aid will discourage higher rate taxpayers from giving
as their tax benefit will be reduced (this is important for us
as we estimate that around 75% of our donors will be higher rate
taxpayers); in addition, donors could be encouraged to transfer
all of the tax benefit to their preferred charity instead of HMRC
retaining a portion of it.
(b) Living Authors
Manuscripts of modern and contemporary UK authors
are finding a ready market abroad, despite the best endeavours
of UK public institutions and funding bodies to acquire them for
their collections. Authors are at a disadvantage internationally
with regard to taxation when selling their papers in the UK. As
archives are considered to constitute professional outputs, authors
are required to pay income tax on their sale and tax relief is
available only to writers' estates, preventing writers from settling
their affairs during their lifetimes.
(c) Recognising donors
This could include recognising donors in the
13. In November 2005, we formally submitted
two proposals to HM Treasury:
To extend the douceur arrangement with
regard to inheritance and capital gains tax to income tax for
living authors selling their papers to a designated UK public
institution by private treaty
To extend the Acceptance in Lieu of tax
scheme to all tax liabilities to enable pre-eminent writers to
settle during their lifetimes the permanent location of their
14. Under the douceur arrangement, tax liability
on an estate is waived, and the benefit split between the vendor
and the public institution. Acceptance in Lieu is acknowledged
to be well-run and effective in encouraging owners of pre-eminent
cultural works to sell them to public institutions in lieu of
tax liability. We continue to press for these changes and are
encouraged that the House of Commons Culture, Media and Sport
Select Committee, in its 2006 report on Caring for our Collections,
recommends the extension of the douceur to income tax, and the
extension of Acceptance in Lieu to benefit living creators. There
are tax incentive schemes for cultural property operating in several
other countries, however most govern donations by owners, rather
than specifically sales by the creator. In the Republic of Ireland,
there is evidence that measures there (Section 1003 tax incentives
and the Heritage Fund) have led to an increase in acquisitions
by public collections.
We continue to seek resolution for these important
15. The British Library is very different
in fundraising potential from other institutions including those
in the arts. We are the only income-generating national library
in the world. Therefore a combination of commercial income-generation
and fundraising is the model we have focused on.
16. The British Library employs a mixed
economy funding model, working hard to secure the necessary public
funding whilst supplementing this with partnerships with other
public, private and third sectors.
17. We have recommended ways for the government
to amend the structure of funding distribution, such as allowing
the Board to make its own appointments in order to increase fundraising
potential and have detailed ways for the government to encourage
more private donations such as simplifying the Gift Aid rules
and addressing the tax rules for living authors.