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MU Concerned by Cuts to Creative Scotland Budget

The MU is concerned to learn that the Scottish Government has reinstated a £6.6m cut to the budget of Creative Scotland.

Published: 28 September 2023 | 2:19 PM Updated: 29 September 2023 | 5:49 PM
A view of Edinburgh Old Town on a bright blue day
"We hope the next Government in Westminster will increase support for the arts, leading to an increase in freelance work as well as employment." Photo credit: Shutterstock

On 21 February this year, in the face of a campaign by organisations across the arts sector, the Scottish Government reversed its proposed 10% cut to the budget of Creative Scotland.

Creative Scotland have confirmed in a submission prior to the Constitution, Europe and Cultural Committee of the Scottish Parliament that the Scottish Government has gone back on its February decision, and will cut the Creative Scotland budget in a year by £6.6m.

Iain Munroe, Chief Executive, speaking to committee this morning made clear that the cut impacts the funding of Regularly Funded Organisations (RFOs). The cut is equivalent to 20% of the funding provided by Creative Scotland to RFOs, but as it is for the second half of the year would mean cuts of 40% of the funding that organisations expected.

Whilst we are relieved that the board of Creative Scotland has agreed to make up this cut from reserves, we are concerned to hear Mr Munroe confirm that if this cut was reflected in the 2024-25 budget for Creative Scotland, it would have to be passed on to organisations.

We urge the Scottish Government to reconsider this decision

Sam Dunkley, Acting Regional Organiser for Scotland and Northern Ireland, said “The reimposition of this cut on Creative Scotland is deeply concerning for musicians and those working across the creative sector in Scotland.

“Musicians, and those working across the culture sector, have been hit hard by the impacts of Covid, the cost of living crisis and Brexit, and this decision by the Scottish Government will further undermine trust and confidence within the sector.

“We would urge the Scottish Government to reconsider this decision, and when setting their budget for 2024-25 to end the years of stand still funding for arts and culture which have diminished the spending power of organisations, the amount of work available for freelance musicians and the confidence and resilience of an industry which has the potential to be a huge success story for the Scottish economy.”

Members are encouraged to attend a union rally organised by our sister union Equity and sign their petition calling for cuts to be reversed.

We hope the next Government in Westminster will increase support for the arts

Naomi Pohl, MU General Secretary, commented on cuts to arts funding being seen across the UK:

“We are seeing cuts to arts funding in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland which will have a direct impact on musicians’ employment and freelance work. Following the Arts Council England announcements last year which affected English and Welsh National Opera, Britten Sinfonia, Glyndebourne, the Oldham Coliseum and Donmar Theatre among others, this is an increasingly challenging time for our members and the U.K. arts sector as a whole.

“The higher rate of orchestral and theatre tax relief has propped up some organisations temporarily but if this is reduced again in 2026, as currently planned, the next few years could see more closures.

“We hope the next Government in Westminster will increase support for the arts, leading to an increase in freelance work as well as employment. This is also crucial for the cultural health of the devolved Nations of the U.K., which have been more musician friendly in recent times but are operating with an ever depleting pot of money.”

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