Restore arts funding in Scotland

Angus Robertson – keep your promise to restore arts funding in Scotland

Victory! 🎉

The Scottish Government has pledged to ‘more than double’ arts investment over the next five years, and made a ‘gold-plated’ commitment to reinstate £6.6m to Creative Scotland next year, after over 15,000 people signed our petition.

The Scottish Government is breaking its promise on arts funding.

In February, thousands joined our campaign against plans for a £6.6 million cut to Creative Scotland, the public body responsible for investing in Scottish arts and culture. Ministers responded by abandoning the cut and instead heralded a “£6.6 million uplift … supporting the arts and cultural sector at this challenging time”.1

But seven months on, the £6.6 million pledged to Creative Scotland hasn’t been delivered. And now the Culture Secretary Angus Robertson has told them that it won’t be.2

This extraordinary short-changing of Scottish culture midway through the year has forced Creative Scotland to raid its limited reserves as a one-off, emergency measure. Otherwise, regularly funded arts organisations in Scotland would have seen their funding cut by as much as 40% as soon as next month.3

This is absolutely no way to treat Scotland’s arts and culture, let alone in a perfect storm of economic pressures and post-pandemic challenges. This ‘U-turn on a U-turn’ puts treasured venues and companies, thousands of jobs and access to Scottish culture at risk.

We urge the Culture Secretary Angus Robertson to:

  1. Honour the Scottish Government’s commitment in February to provide “an uplift of £6.6 million for Creative Scotland for 2023-24″4.
  2. Scrap any proposal to cut Creative Scotland funding from the 2023-24 Autumn Budget Revision.
  3. Commit to maintaining and growing investment in arts and culture from 2024-5, for the benefit of everybody in Scotland.

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”.5

But Scotland’s cultural sector has not fully recovered from the pandemic, during which it was one of the hardest-hit sectors. For many, incomes have fallen and reserves have dried up. Now, in the middle of a cost-of-living crisis, costs are rising and uncertainty is rife. This is not the time to cut vital, core funding on which artists and organisations depend.

Economic pressures have already led to the permanent closure of the Filmhouse cinemas in Edinburgh and Aberdeen, the Blue Arrow Jazz Club in Glasgow and the Nevis Ensemble, which worked across the country. We cannot afford to lose any more arts organisations – or the benefits they bring to our lives, communities and society.

Scottish culture is at risk

Creative Scotland's 119 Regularly Funded Organisations (RFOs) directly employ 5,000 workers, support 25,500 individual artists and provide millions of opportunities for people across Scotland to engage with the arts and culture.

Enter the name of your Local Authority to find an RFO that could be affected near you.

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  1. @theSNP on X, 22 Feb 2023[]
  2. Addendum to submission to the CEEAC Committee inquiry into culture budgets, 27 Feb 2023[]
  3. Evidence from Iain Munro, Meeting of the Constitution, Europe, External Affairs and Culture Committee, 28 Sep 2023[]
  4. Letter from John Swinney to the Campaign for the Arts[]
  5. SNP Manifesto 2021: Culture and Creativity[]