The Portable Antiquities Scheme faces a freeze on its annual budget for the upcoming year, which amounts to a cut in real terms after inflation.
Britain's Portable Antiquities Scheme is regarded by many as the most viable compromise between the interests of society in general and of individual rights when dealing with objects of antiquity that are broadly defined by UNESCO as cultural property. That program, now ten years old, has led to the recording and preservation of considerable and important data that would clearly be lost in its absence. The ACCG supports the PAS and encourages adoption of similar vehicles for the recording of finds within other source countries.
Funding of the PAS is derived through the U.K. Department for Culture, Media and Sport. When the level of funding became uncertain at the end of 2007, the ACCG expressed its support of PAS to the British Secretary of State. Attached below is a reply from DCMS which recognizes the value of PAS but does not clearly address the funding issue.
According to Dr. Roger Bland, founder and director of the Scheme, an announcement by the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council that funding of PAS was planned at the current level of support is actually an indirect way of saying that funding is being frozen. The lack of adjustment for inflation amounts to a reduction in operating funds. Dr. Bland reported that "We believe that that will mean the loss of up to 5 out the current 50 posts." He further explained that the statement `MLA will consider options for future funding of the PAS in the context of the wider priorities for museum collections and public participation' means "they would like to dilute our fundamental aim which is to create an academically useful database of objects that would otherwise go unrecorded by turning PAS into a museum outreach scheme."
There is currently a poll being taken at the archaeology web site www.archaeology.co.uk which anyone can participate in. The ACCG encourages its members to vote in this poll to retain a nationally coordinated scheme in Britain.