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The total amount requested by over 500 cultural and creative organisations in Scotland outstrips the funder’s annual income by over £16m.

scottish flag

Sonya Kate Wilson via iStock

Creative Scotland has said it will be unable to fund as many organisations on a multi-year basis when its next multi-year funding programme begins in 2025.

An update from the funder said just over 500 cultural and creative organisations registered their interest to apply to the next funding round, with an indicative annual request in excess of £113m.

Creative Scotland’s current multi-year funding programme, which commenced in 2018, features 121 organisations. Between them, they currently receive around £33.8m per annum.


According to the quango’s annual plan for 2023/24, its current annual income, consisting of both Scottish Government and National Lottery funding, totals almost £96.3m.

Creative Scotland is yet to share the budget for the next multi-year funding round. A statement on the funder’s website said the demand for multi-year funding “provides a clear indication of the scale of ambition and need that exists across Scotland’s culture and creative sector”.

“It is also a reflection of the rising cost of operations being experienced by cultural organisations due to increased inflation, the continued impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, and the need to address historic low pay issues through Fair Work First, all against a backdrop of standstill funding over a number of years,” the statement continues.

“Based on current levels of funding, these figures also underline the fact that Creative Scotland will not be able to support as many organisations on a multi-year basis as we currently do, and the application process will be highly competitive.”

Arts professionals have responded to the news with calls for increased government support.

“No big surprise, but really useful to see the anticipated ask at this stage of the process,” Callum Smith, Senior Producer at the National Theatre of Scotland, said on Twitter.

“It demonstrates, unequivocally, that we need increased funding from government if there is to be an accessible, ambitious and successful cultural sector with fair work at its heart.”

“We are all trying our best, freelancers and buildings, to make the arts work in Scotland. Going above and beyond,” added Andy McGregor, Artistic Director of Glasgow-based theatre company Sleeping Warrior.

“But in the end it comes down to government [funding] to allow people to work, make stuff and be paid fairly and for the arts not to become a playpen for the rich.” 

Further warnings

Creative Scotland’s warning is the latest in a series about how far its budget can stretch.

When facing a 10% budget cut earlier this year - which was eventually overturned - Creative Scotland Chief Executive Iain Munro said around 60 organisations would lose regular funding if the proposal went ahead.

More recently, the funder said it could be forced to reduce the number of organisations it supports if it does not recieve an uplift in funding from the Scottish Government.

In its most recent statement, Creative Scotland said it will “continue to advocate on a daily basis for increased funding for culture and creativity in Scotland” and will progress through the multi-year funding process “with a view to maximising the budgets available”.

Applications to stage one of the next multi-year funding programme will open on 6 September. All organisations that declared their intention to apply are eligible.