Northampton museums could lose funding from Arts Council England (ACE) if the town sells an ancient Egyptian statue, it has been claimed.
The Arts Council said the move by Northampton Borough Council risked compromising its accreditation, meaning it could lose funding in the future.
A spokesperson for ACE said: “We are very disappointed to hear that Northampton Museum is going ahead with plans to sell Sekhemka.
“It is important that the public retains trust in museums to look after the collections held in their name and this trust may be undermined if disposals from public collections are financially driven.
“We have been very clear about these concerns in discussions with Northampton and, as a result, we will be assessing Northampton Museum’s accreditation status in the coming months.”
A spokeswoman for the Save Sekhemka Action Group said they were “dismayed” by the decision to sell the statue.