Following cuts in funding for many Scots language and Scottish Traditional Arts groups, Falkirk East MSP Cathy Peattie has tabled a “motion of no confidence” in the Scottish Arts Council and its proposed successor, Creative Scotland. She also highlighted the cuts in the Creative Scotland debate, and at Scottish Executive Questions.
“Unless there are safeguards included in the Creative Scotland Bill when it returns to Holyrood, I don’t think Scottish Culture will be safe in its hands. The Bill, which fell because of government incompetence, envisaged little change to the current regime, and unless we can change that when the Bill returns, I think we’d be better off with a separate body to look after Scots and traditional arts,” said Cathy.
“The organisations that have had their budgets slashed cannot wait for amendments to the Bill. They will have to hand out redundancies and mothball or abandon projects later this year. They urgently need interim measures put in place by the Scottish Government now to ensure their continued activity..
“We are inviting those of Scots descent to return from around the world, and what will they find at the Homecoming? Scottish culture under attack from the Scottish Government!
“Other countries, such as Ireland, give a much higher percentages of their arts and culture budgets to language and traditional arts. Scotland was improving, but now we have taken a nose-dive.
“The Ministerial mantra is ‘the audit will sort it”, but by the time it reports, the damage will already have been done, and the Scots Language audit won’t do anything for the traditional arts groups anyway.”
The motion: S3M-02073 Supporting Scottish Culture
– That the Parliament recognises the valuable work of Scottish cultural organisations, including the Traditional Music and Song Association, the Scottish Traditions of Dance Trust, the Scots Music Group, Voluntary Arts Scotland, the Scots Language Centre, and Scots Language Dictionaries, which promote and support extensive voluntary participation in Scottish traditional arts and culture; notes the extreme difficulties these organisations now face as a result of their loss of funding from the Scottish Arts Council; further notes that while existing funding runs to March 2009, the reality of redundancies and the termination of accommodation and office facilities means that their activity will be severely curtailed later this year; recognises that the audit of Scots language provision, even if completed in time, is unlikely to provide more than a partial solution to the problem; believes that the Scottish Arts Council cannot be trusted to support and promote the Scots language and Scottish traditional arts and sees no reason to suspect that Creative Scotland will be any different, and therefore believes that a separately constituted and funded body should be set up for this purpose and interim measures put in place to safeguard existing provision until this is done.
Creative Scotland Bill speech