By Lucy Ashton
Scottish Labour will today (Wednesday 25) force a vote in the Scottish Parliament on the SNP-Green government’s “crushing” decision to slash Creative Scotland’s budget by 10 per cent mid-year.
Last month the SNP revealed it was breaking its promise to protect Creative Scotland’s funding and raiding £6.6 million from its budget this year, sparking a backlash from the organisation.
The SNP has performed a series of U-turns on this funding and in February celebrated its decision not to go through with cuts – only to quietly reinstate them months later.
Creative Scotland’s Chief Executive recently warned MSPs of “despair, despondency, disillusionment and fear” in the sector and warned that the “perfect storm” it was facing risked decline, closures and job losses.
At SNP conference Humza Yousaf pledged to increase funding for arts and culture, but he is yet to set out clear plans for this and has failed to commit to reversing this year’s cut.
Labour has said it would be the “height of hypocrisy” for SNP MSPs to vote to decimate Creative Scotland’s budget and not give the sector the certainty over funding it needs, mere days after Humza Yousaf pledged to increase arts and culture funding.
Scottish Labour Culture spokesperson Neil Bibby, right, said “Scottish arts and culture is facing a perfect storm and the SNP government is piling pressure on instead of helping.
“Humza Yousaf’s promise of jam tomorrow will be cold comfort to all the organisations facing collapse right now.
“It would be the height of hypocrisy for SNP MSPs to defend their government’s crushing budget cuts to Creative Scotland mere days after the First Minister promised a funding boost.
“This debate is an opportunity for the SNP to commit to helping the sector now and set out clear timescales for when it will receive further support.
“People in the sector want to know what these new promises on funding are worth, particularly when the SNP broke its pledge on culture funding this year.
“All parties must come together to back Scotland’s iconic arts sector by voting for Scottish Labour’s motion.”
The Arts are hugely important for Scotland, say Labour who will raise funding issues in the Holyrood parliament this afternoon. Top of page picture is of a painting by Joan Eardley.