A New Dawn for Scottish Culture: Government Increases 2024 Budget by €18 million

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Dancers with The Scottish Ballet, Scotland’s national dance company, perform a scene from "Sinfonietta Giocosa" in 2017. - Copyright Timothy A. Clary/AFP

As part of a five-year plan, the Scottish government will increase the funding budget of the arts and culture industry by €18 million in 2024.

This marks Scotland’s first step towards the goal of increasing arts funding by at least €115.4 million over the next five years. This is taking place after an announcement of the plan by the country’s First Minister, Humza Yousaf in October 2023.

The government in a proposal released on Wednesday, December 20, 2023, explained the new addition aims to assist the cultural sector in providing exceptional and high-end services.

“Our continued and increased investment in Scotland’s culture and heritage will improve the resilience and sustainability of our culture sector and (…) will support our publicly funded culture bodies to deliver high-quality services, sustainably and equitably, that are fit for the future,” the 2024-2025 Scottish budget plan read.

A breakdown of the proposed budget will see €15.3 million distributed to the public body that supports the arts and creative industries in the country, Creative Scotland.

€7.6 million, a half representation of the money given to Creative Scotland would recoup all funds the arts body lost in controversial budget cuts during the 2023/24 financial year. The remaining half would settle the art body’s shortfall in National Lottery funding.

“Scotland’s national performing companies, including the National Theatre of Scotland, Scottish Opera and Scottish Ballet, will share another €346,000,” according to the budget.

Despite what seems to be a good deal for Scottish culture, some industry players are unhappy with the development. They explained that the proposed amount does not make a difference in the expenses of the arts sector.

Jack Gamble, director of Campaign for the Arts, told UK arts publication The Stage that “Amid a perfect storm of challenges for artists and organisations, the Scottish government needs to go much further, much faster.”

Meanwhile, in a bid to assure the industry of greater deals ahead, Deputy First Minister and Finance Secretary Shona Robison shared that the budget is the beginning of incredible plans the Scottish government has for the culture industry.

“This is only the first step on the route to investing at least £100 million (€115.4 million) more in the arts and culture by 2028/29, and our aim to increase arts and culture investment in 2025/26 by at least a further £25 million (€28.8 million),” she said.

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