Arts organisations working on their funding bids have been asked to “budget realistically and focus on core need”.

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A month before funding applications for its Regular Funding stream close, Creative Scotland has issued a plea for arts organisations applying to “budget realistically and focus on core need”.

The funder is anticipating having to reduce its budget for Regularly Funded Organisations (RFOs) in 2018-21, and has warned it is likely to cut the number of organisations it funds.

“Pressure on Scottish Government budgets is expected to continue in the coming years,” Deputy Chief Executive Iain Munro wrote on the Creative Scotland website. “Separately to this, we have also seen a recent downturn in income from the National Lottery. This will undoubtedly impact on future budgets.”

“We expect that demand for Regular Funding will be extremely high and the process very competitive,” he added.

Funding ups and downs

118 organisations currently receive Regular Funding. They were awarded just under £100m over the three-year 2015-18 funding period.

Munro wrote: “It’s likely that the amount of funding we have available for Regular Funding in future will reduce, meaning we are likely to fund fewer organisations than at present, and be unable to support every application at the level requested.”

Creative Scotland appears to be scaling back its ambitions, after it more than doubled the number of RFOs it funds in 2015. The move counters Arts Council England, which recently revealed it is preparing to increase the number of organisations in its National Portfolio from just under 700 to around 900.

Applications for the 2018-21 funding round will close on 3 April 2017. Creative Scotland expects to announce its decisions after October, although the exact timing will depend on the budget announcement from the Scottish Government in Autumn 2017.

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