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MU Concerned Over Cuts to the Arts in Scotland

The MU has reacted to last week’s Scottish Budget 2023-24, where announcements saw cuts to arts funding.

Published: 23 December 2022 | 12:37 PM
Harp player is performing in a concert space with bright gold light
“The budget announcement is hugely concerning to the culture sector as a whole.” Photo credit: Shutterstock

The headline statistics from the Scottish Budget include a £7m cut for Creative Scotland and the National Performing Companies receiving a significant real terms cut with funding remaining at £22.9m after years of similar standstill funding.

Major Events and ‘themed years’ will see a welcome increase of £6m from £18.2m – £24.2m.

A bleak outlook for a vulnerable sector

Scotland and Northern Ireland Regional Organiser Caroline Sewell says:

“The budget announcement is hugely concerning to the culture sector as a whole. Years of standstill funding compounded by the cost of living crisis and interest rates as they currently are spell a bleak outlook for an already vulnerable sector.

“Most concerning is the 10% cut to Creative Scotland’s funding – although Creative Scotland have said they will use National Lottery reserves to absorb the cut, without a funding increase this simply delays the impact we will see in 2023/24.

“Meanwhile, National Performing Companies face yet another year of standstill under-investment in the face of record inflation and rising costs. It is difficult to see how the Scottish Government can deliver on their Culture Strategy and ambitions for Fair Work within the context of this budget.”

Lobbying for increased investment

MU General Secretary Naomi Pohl says:

“The Union is very concerned about a real terms reduction in funding across the UK over the past decade and the impact this is having on pay, conditions and opportunities for both employed and freelance musicians.

“We will be lobbying for increased investment in the arts across the UK in 2023. We know money invested brings a return to the economy so cuts are nonsensical from a financial point of view as well as diminishing provision.”

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