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A new report submitted to the Scottish government has warned that £104m of additional funding is required to secure the sector's future.

A report to MSPs said that the Scottish cultural sector urgently needs extra funding

Andy 2673 via iStock

Claims that there is a lack of available funds to boost Scotland’s arts sector are preventing “meaningful engagement and discussion”, according to a report submitted to MSPs earlier this month.

The report, authored by the Culture Counts network, criticised the "lack of available money to invest in the sector argument made by government" and said that “urgent and transformative action is needed”  to avoid “significant, irreparable damage” to Scotland’s cultural industry.

In its recommendations, Culture Counts, which represents arts organisations, festivals and attractions across Scotland, warned that £104m of additional investment is required to secure the sector's future.


It went on to say that the barriers to increasing investment and moving to a multi-year funding model are “unclear”. Denouncing short-term and annualised funding settlements, Culture Counts said the current system was  “not conducive to forward planning, organisational and staff security and achieving long-term change”. 

It added that the annual system puts the sector under “significant pressure” and creates an “unproductive environment of uncertainty and competition”. Implementing multi-year funding, it argues, would enable longer-term planning and be vital to “future-proofing” the system.


Culture Counts' recommendations include a 30% increase to the Culture Portfolio budget for 2024-2025, amounting to £104m and representing an increase of 0.16% of total Scottish government spending.

Citing changes to the Fiscal Framework agreed last month, which doubled Scotland’s borrowing capability to £600m, Culture Counts said the Scottish government had “significantly greater flexibility” to accommodate the requested budgetary need and deliver multi-year funding.

Scotland is 28th out of 34 European countries in its level of per capita arts funding, currently amounting to 0.58% of total government spending. Culture Count's  “overriding ambition” is for that figure to reach 1% eventually.

Significant challenges

The Culture Counts report is the second such warning on the troubled state of Scottish arts funding to be issued in recent weeks. In a submission to the Constitution, Europe, External Affairs and Culture Committee at Holyrood, the government's own arts funding body, Creative Scotland also cautioned that increased costs and budget cuts were creating “a perfect storm” for cultural organisations. 

It estimates that 900 sector jobs are at immediate risk, as well as 12,000 creative freelance opportunities.

Shortly after both reports were issued, First Minister Humza Yousaf outlined a commitment to tackling the “significant challenges” facing the country’s cultural institutions due to the combined effects of Covid, Brexit and the rising costs of living and operating.

Yousaf did not say if there would be any further funding for the culture sector, leaving arts organisations waiting until the government’s budget plans are revealed in December. 

A headshot of Mary Stone
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