Creative Scotland vows to protect arts from budget cuts

Bill Paterson and Brian Cox in Waiting for Godot at Edinburgh's Royal Lyceum, one of the organisations funded regularly by Creative Scotland.
Bill Paterson and Brian Cox in Waiting for Godot at Edinburgh's Royal Lyceum, one of the organisations funded regularly by Creative Scotland.
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ARTS quango Creative Scotland is to protect venues, organisations and events which receive regular funding from any cuts next year - despite having its own budget slashed by the Scottish Government.

Officials will be asked to find £1.2 worth of savings elsewhere in its budget after the organisation was hit with a 3.6 per cent cut in the new budget settlement.

It was the quango’s share of around £20 million in real-terms cuts in the culture budget, which has also affected the five national performing companies and the country’s flagship museums and galleries.

The announcement by Creative Scotland, which has had its core government budget cut to £32.2 million, will come as a relief to the 119 organisations which have been awarded £100 million worth of funding over three years.

Film and television production funding will also be ring-fenced in the face of the cut, as these are bankrolled via National Lottery funding.

A spokeswoman said: “The board of Creative Scotland met yesterday to discuss a high level approach to next year’s budget in the context of the recent decision by the Scottish Government.

“Following careful budgeting, we do not plan to pass on any cuts to regularly funded organisations in 2016/17.

“We are also planning to fund five sector development organisations (Arts & Business Scotland, Cultural Enterprise Office, Culture Republic, Creative Carbon Scotland and the Federation of Scottish Theatre) for a further 12 months at the same level as 2015/16.

“This has been achieved without the need for any additional National Lottery funding being used within the regular funding route.

“We will achieve the necessary budget reductions, which total £1.2m, by making efficiency savings to our own operations and through careful phasing of the funds we distribute.

“While the draft budget outcome for culture does present challenges, we will continue to work tirelessly to raise the profile of the value of the arts, screen and creative industries to all our lives and to get the message across that creativity matters.”

A major overhaul of Creative Scotland’s funding regimes was promised two years ago by its board in the wake of a full scale rebellion by artists and organisations over a previous shake-up, which saw dozens of them stripped of regular funding.

The campaign, which saw 100 leading cultural figures demand change over the running of the quango, led to the resignation of then chief executive Andrew Dixon, and one of his most senior officials, Venu Dhupa, within the space of a few weeks.