Angus Robertson defends £6.6m Creative Scotland funding cut

The Herald

01 Oct 2023

by Andrew Learmonth

Angus Robertson has defended the decision to reimpose a £6.6 million cut to Creative Scotland’s funding, saying the Scottish Government had to make savings following a series of public sector pay hikes.

Writing in The Herald on Sunday, the Culture Secretary insisted the SNP-Green administration would do their best to make up the shortfall next year.

However, Campaign For The Arts, the charity leading the protest against the cuts, said it was hard to trust the minister given last week’s unexpected u-turn.

Jack Gamble, the director of Campaign For The Arts told The Herald on Sunday: “Creative Scotland rightly maintains reserves for an emergency, but none of us expects that emergency to be created by the Scottish Government.”

He added:“Last year, ministers gave Creative Scotland 10% less funding than five years previously, in real terms.

“When they tried to impose another 10% cut this year, despite the huge pressures on artists and cultural organisations arising from the pandemic and cost-of-living crisis, thousands joined our campaign to express their outrage.

“It beggars belief that only seven months after the Scottish Government abandoned the £6.6 million cut, saying they had listened and parading a £6.6 million ‘uplift’ to support the sector, they are rowing back on their promise and slashing the budget anyway.”

Mr Gamble continued: “The SNP’s 2021 manifesto said ‘culture is central to who we are as a nation’, and that ‘the pandemic has demonstrated more than ever how vital it is to our wellbeing, mental health and sense of belonging’.

“How, at a time when the cultural sector has so much to give, can it be treated in such a reckless and haphazard way by ministers whose job is to support it?  “How can commitments to restore funding in future years be taken on trust after sudden U-turns like this and years of underinvestment?”