Thank you for writing to me about the Scottish Government’s planned cuts to the culture budget.
I am very pleased that after considerable public interest in the Campaign for the Arts’ petition to reverse the cuts, the Scottish Government has announced that the planned cut to Creative Scotland’s budget will now not be going ahead. I know this will be a great relief to the employees and patrons of its regularly funded organisations whose future was thrown into jeopardy by the proposed cuts.
My colleague Sarah Boyack MSP hosted a round table with cultural organisations in October last year and has been working with the sector to highlight the massive pressures cultural organisations are facing and to listen to them regarding the changes the sector needs.
Since the most recent budget was announced last December, Scottish Labour has been calling for a support package for the culture sector, which is facing the “perfect storm” of reduced visitor numbers after the pandemic and the cost of living crisis. While we are glad that the Scottish Government will not now be adding further misery to the already embattled sector, this only takes us back to square one. In reality our culture sector that has been underfunded and undervalued for years and many cultural organisations and venues are still struggling to keep the lights on and the doors open.
Scottish Labour will continue to argue for better support and more reliable funding streams for a culture sector in crisis so that Scotland’s cultural landscape can not only survive but thrive in the coming years, with all the benefits to our economy and society that come with it.