With funding being cut for arts organisations all over the globe, Scotland let out a sigh of relief and gratitude when the Scottish Government announced it's 2018/19 draft budget, which includes measures to protect funding for arts organisations in the year ahead. In fact, it includes a growth in the overall culture budget of almost 10% on the 2017/18 figures.
On 14 December 2017, Scotland's finance secretary Derek Mackay revealed the draft budget, which included a boost for the country's creative sectors. Within this, Creative Scotland has reported a discretionary Grant in Aid budget of £38.9m for 2018/19, which is a massive uplift of 21% on 2017/18. This aims to tackle the decrease in support from National Lottery funding, which usually makes up around 40% of Creative Scotland's budget but has now declined to just 25%.
So, why is this important?
Because Scotland's creative industries have a major impact on our economy. They are at the heart of a cultural offering that is recognised worldwide for its quality and diversity. What's more, they are reported to contribute in excess of £4.6 billion annually, a figure which grows year on year, and employ over 84k people. That's more people than the entireity of the energy sector employs.
Back in October, there had been warnings around expected reductions for creative sector funding and the negative impact this would have on the economy. This triggered many to take action, including over 100 authors and poets, such as well-known names Irvine Welsh, Jackie Kay and Alexander McCall Smith who lobbied the Scottish Government in an open letter.
So, it is with much delight that this positive news has been received.
"The increase in culture spending set out in this draft budget underlines the Scottish Government’s commitment to the pivotal role that culture and creativity plays in people’s lives across Scotland and the cultural, social and economic value delivered through creative endeavour."
- Janet Archer, Chief Executive, Creative Scotland
The boost in funding aligned with considerable investments into the Edinburgh Festivals, the incredible new V&A in Dundee and The Burrell Collection in Glasgow in the past year, continue to shine a light on the energy, dynamism and quality of arts in Scotland. And, as an agency that works with arts organisations here and internationally, we're delighted to see a commitment from the highest level to continue to support players big and small.
On 18 January 2018, the board of Creative Scotland will meet to finalise regular funding for the next three years. We look forward to hearing more.
You can check out Creative Scotland's full Annual Plan here.