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Scottish Parliament Debates Arts Funding and Commits to New Funding From 2024 

Acting Regional Organiser for Scotland and Northern Ireland Sam Dunkely reports from a Scottish Parliament debate on arts funding. 

Photo ofSam Dunkley
By Sam Dunkley Published: 31 October 2023 | 3:34 PM
Aerial view of Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh.
As we head towards the draft budget on 19 December, the MU will continue to campaign to keep up the pressure on the Scottish Government. Image credit: Shutterstock.

Last Wednesday, the Scottish Parliament debated arts funding. We were pleased to hear politicians from all parties referring to statistics from the briefing document the MU shared with MSPs and members before the debate.  

Neil Bibby MSP, the Scottish Labour Spokesperson on Culture, commended the work of the Musicians’ Union during his speech opening the debate, and Scottish Labour MSP Pauline McNeill included some of the questions from our briefing in her speech, after we briefed her office before the debate. 

While we heard from SNP MSP and cabinet secretary Angus Robertson that the increase in funding will start next year, we also heard from Mark Ruskell MSP, who stated that the Cabinet Secretary had committed to replenishing Creative Scotland's reserves. This would replace the £6.6m that Creative Scotland used to plug a gap in this year's budget after the government u-turned on their u-turn and forced through a controversial 10% funding cut in September.

Keeping pressure on the Scottish Government to fund the arts 

Thank you to all MU members who took the time to write to MSPs. As we head towards the draft budget on 19December, the MU will continue to campaign to keep up the pressure on the Scottish Government to: 

  • Deliver on the First Minister's commitment to double investment in Scotland’s arts and culture  
  • Frontload the implementation of the additional £100m per year to save jobs and cultural institutions  
  • Work with unions and others to ensure that Fair Work principles are applied consistently throughout the arts and culture sector  

If you didn’t have time to send the briefing to your MSP before the debate, it’s not too late. Please consider sending them the link to our Scotland Arts Funding Briefing for Musicians and MSPs, and explaining to them why this additional funding is important to you and the work you do. 

Find your MSP on the Scottish Parliament website.


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