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LibDem Executive Member has ‘lost control’ on charging issue

The council’s Executive Member for Culture has been accused of losing control of the situation on the issue of charging for art gallery and museums entry for York residents.
Only two days ago he deferred giving York Museums Trust permission to charge York residents entry until at least September, something council officers say is required before charging is introduced, only for the Trust to confirm yesterday that it will proceed with plans to charge anyway when the art gallery opens tomorrow.
Labour’s Deputy Leader, Coun. Stuart Barnes said Executive Member Coun. Nigel Ayre was in disarray, commenting:
“Coun. Ayre has completely lost control of the situation, and it remains unclear given his contradictory positions whether residents who turn up to the art gallery tomorrow will be charged or not.  On the one hand he has not authorised charging, deferring a decision to be taken by the Coalition Executive in September, yet in his public statements today he seems to accept the Museums Trust’s position of saying the full £7.50 charge will apply to York residents.  There’s no way to describe the situation other than chaotic, and it looks very much like the tail is wagging the dog.
“Coun. Ayre saying he is pleased with the YMT’s new compromise proposal is quite incredible when he has not authorised it at a public meeting. He now needs to make a further public statement immediately stating whether he has u-turned on his decision to defer a decision on charging, or whether it still stands.  Residents need to know, and he needs to be clear with the Museums Trust too. 
“What should be a great event for the city tomorrow following the major refurbishment looks set to be overshadowed by protests and potentially people being declined entry to the gallery, right in the middle of a national media spotlight.  This is hugely embarrassing and damaging to the reputation of the city”.

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