We’re calling on our members – and Scotland’s literature and languages community – to take action and write to Finance Cabinet Secretary Derek Mackay MSP and their local MSP to urge them to protect the culture budget.
We must ensure MSPs understand that we want to live in a literary nation and it is their job to invest in and support the development of that literary nation.
Use the info we’ve supplied in this template letter – but also draw on your own experience and the difference festivals, books, libraries, literature programmes have made to your life, your family and your community.
This is important. It will only take 10 minutes. Please post or email your letter by Friday 1 December.
Derek Mackay MSP
Cabinet Secretary for Finance and the Constitution
The Scottish Parliament
Edinburgh EH99 1SP
Find your local MSP here: http://www.parliament.scot/msps.aspx
Below is our letter posted to Mr Mackay, from LAS Chair Peggy Hughes.
Please protect Scotland’s culture budget
My name is Peggy Hughes, I am Chair of Literature Alliance Scotland, which represents the principal literature and languages organisations in Scotland, and I write to ask you to ensure continued financial support for literature programmes in Scotland in the forthcoming budget.
While I appreciate you face difficult decisions when balancing the budget, the argument for investment in culture is strong. Scotland’s arts and culture sector is one of the most efficient and dynamic in our nation:
At £293 million, total spending on culture, tourism and external affairs represented less than 1% of the 2016-17 Scottish budget. Yet arts and creative industries contribute 3% of the gross value added to the national budget.
In 2015/16 Creative Scotland’s Regular Funded Organisations attracted £109million of extra investment from sources other than public funds and created 1.62 million public participation opportunities.
In 2015, 92% of adults in Scotland participated in a cultural activity and Scotland’s Creative Industries contributed £4.6billion GVA to the Scottish economy, supporting 73,600 jobs.
Scottish literature puts us on the international map and attracts business through publishing, bookselling and cultural tourism. Scotland has more than 100 active publishing houses, producing over 3000 new books a year, employing +1600 people, and generating an annual turnover of c£150 million. The country’s 45 plus book festivals include the world’s largest, and book festivals attract millions to Scotland’s local economies. A third of visitors to Scotland cite history and culture as a key motivation to visit, especially overseas and long-haul visitors.
Given the huge added value the cultural sector brings to Scotland’s economy, society and business community, it is clear that public investment in culture offers outstanding value for money.
Literature is a success story for Scotland and we appeal to the Scottish Government to invest in Scotland’s literature for the future.
Cuts to the public funding that supports the literary infrastructure in Scotland – the bedrock of a cultural offer recognised worldwide for its quality – will undoubtedly lead to the disappearance of many irreplaceable arts organisations and literary infrastructure which support our readers, storytellers, writers, and publishers.
Reading is Scotland’s favourite cultural activity, which brings with it important health benefits. In fact, a 2013 study conducted by the Scottish Government shows clear and significant links between cultural participation and improved health and wellbeing.
Right now, we are punching above our weight across all the creative sectors. Ours is a proud, confident, pioneering nation with a long reach. On behalf of our members, our communities and the young people of the future, we implore you: let’s not fall behind. Please protect the arts and culture.
Chair of LAS
Literature Alliance Scotland Membership at November 2017
- Association for Scottish Literary Studies (ASLS)
- Association of Scottish Literary Agents (ASLA)
- Bookdonors CIC
- CILIPS (Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals in Scotland)
- Edinburgh International Book Festival
- Edinburgh UNESCO City of Literature Trust
- The Gaelic Books Council
- Moniack Mhor
- National Library of Scotland
- Peter Pan Moat Brae Trust
- Playwrights’ Studio Scotland
- Publishing Scotland
- The Saltire Society
- Scottish Book Trust
- Scottish Language Dictionaries
- Scottish Library and Information Council (SLIC)
- SLAM (Scottish Literary and Arts Magazines)
- Scottish Society of Playwrights
- Scottish PEN
- Scottish Poetry Library
- Scottish Storytelling Forum
- Scottish Writers Centre
- Society of Authors in Scotland
- Universities Committee for Scottish Literature
- Wigtown Festival Company
- Writers’ Guild of Great Britain (Scottish Region)
- Ayton Publishing
- Emergents CIC
- Florida State Universities Library
- Indie Authors World
- Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh
- Stirling Centre for International Publishing and Communication @ Stirling University
- The Poetry Association of Scotland.
Letters were sent from: ASLA, ASLS, CILIPS, City of Lit, Indie Authors, LAS, Moniack Mhor, Playwrights Studio, Scotland and Scottish Society of Playwrights, Publishing Scotland, SLAM, Scottish PEN, Wigtown Book Trust, UCSL.
Weegie Wednesday also sent the template letter to their network to encourage letters.
At the Scottish budget announcement on 14 December 2017, the overall spend on what the Scottish Government defines as culture rose 10% to £166.8m.