FM confirms £97m is for arts

Jul 6 2020 | By More

First Minister’s take on UK-wide culture funds

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has confirmed that the Scottish element of the UK Government’s £1.57 billion culture relief will go to the sector and is additional to the £10m announced on Friday.

Speaking during her press briefing on Monday 6 July 2020, the FM also gave assurances that the funding would support the arts “in every corner of our country”, however she stopped short of discussing the reopening of live venues.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon addresses the issue of culture funding at her press briefing on Monday 6 July 2020. Screengrab: Thom Dibdin

The £97 million due to Scotland (see £97M for Scottish culture) is the Barnett consequential from the grant elements of the UK government’s £1.57 billion bailout for the arts, announced from Westminster on Sunday evening.

On Friday, 3 July, the Scottish government announced its own £10m relief fund to provide direct support to performing arts venues (£10m for theatre).

Speaking on Monday, the FM noted that: “We called then on the UK Govt to step up and use the powers it has to provide further assistance and so we very much welcome the announcement from the UK government last night of a significant package of financial support.”

Details of the Scottish Government’s £10m fund are sketchy, beyond the fact that it will be distributed by Creative Scotland, but the guidance was clear that it was for venues, their workers and freelancers.

seeking clarity

Regarding the UK’s funds, the FM said: “We are now seeking clarity on exactly how the different funding arrangements will work and we will engage quickly with those in our culture and heritage sectors to identify the best ways in which the Scottish government can now provide additional help.”

Answering questions, she added: “we will want to have some engagement with the arts and culture and heritage sectors here in Scotland to make sure not just that every penny of it goes to businesses and freelancers in those sectors, but that we get the structuring of that support right.”

The First Minister quickly quashed any question over whether the Scottish government would give its element to arts and culture.

She said:”I want to give an assurance today that the funding announced by the UK Government last night will be passed on in full in Scotland to our arts, culture and heritage sector.”

She added: “I hope today’s news together with last week’s announcement from the Scottish Government will provide people working across the sector with some optimism now about the future.”

re-opening live venues.

During questions from the press on Monday, the First Minister was asked what her scientific advisors were saying about the re-opening of live venues.

Here, the FM was more cagey, saying “these are issues which we are still considering carefully and I will not necessarily be able to give precise clarity on this point.”

However, she did say that “we will give an update in parliament on Thursday about the move potentially into the next phase [of the exit strategy from lockdown] and also the later stage of this phase that we are in.”

Asked to confirm that the £97 funding would be made available across the country, not just to Edinburgh and Glasgow, she said: “Arts culture and heritage is important in every single part of our country, not just our cities, but literally in every corner of our country.

“It is important that this funding supports art and culture in every part of our country and we will be determined to make sure it does.”


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