A collective voice for literature and languages in Scotland

Call for Three-Year Culture Budget

Culture Counts, the collective voice of Scotland’s cultural sector, has written to Fiona Hyslop MSP, the Cabinet Secretary for Economy, Fair Work and Culture, to ask for the announcement of a three-year culture budget in January 2021.

While Culture Counts members, which includes Literature Alliance Scotland, are aware that the Scottish Government has to manage annual uncertainty from Westminster over budget allocation, they do not believe that a three-year-agreement would be an unmanageable commitment for the Scottish Government to make. The letter also acknowledges that the level of Scottish Government investment in culture in Scotland is similar to other countries of its size.

The culture sector has experienced an awful year, with precarious-work quickly turning into no work for many. The high levels of precarious work that exist in the sector, caused in part by uncertainty and the inability to plan ahead, have a knock-on impact on its lack of diversity. The inability to plan ahead means organisations are less able to engage in sustainable partnerships across portfolio areas. Precarious work in the sector is a structural issue, linked to one-year funding arrangements from the Scottish Government.

Jennifer Hunter, Executive Leader, Culture Counts said:
 “While working on the crowd-sourced manifesto the issue of sustainability came up again and again. The sector’s ability to align with Sustainable Development Goals, the National Performance Framework and the Culture Strategy requires an absolute minimum of a three-year funding deal. The positive difference that certainty would make to a sector that’s been reeling with the uncertainty of Brexit for years and who are currently at the sharp-end of Covid-19 should not be underestimated. This, in my view, is not beyond the ability of the Scottish Government.”

Contact Andy Robertson, Communications Manager of Culture Counts
 on andy@culturecounts.scot

 

Notes to Editor

Culture Counts is the collective voice of Scotland’s cultural sector. Our members work collaboratively to place the arts, screen, heritage and creative industries at the heart of policy-making.

@culturecounts

The Scottish Government’s budget will be published on 28 January 2021, Finance Secretary Kate Forbes has announced.
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The Crowd-Sourced Manifesto for Scottish Parliament Elections 2021 was published in November 2020 The manifesto has been crowd-sourced by Scotland’s culture sector. It identified 8 asks for the next Scottish Parliament & Scottish Government for the next five-year parliamentary term.
 https://culturecounts.scot/cultural-manifesto-2021

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December 16, 2020

Protect the culture budget – write to your MSP

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.

 

Contact details

Derek Mackay MSP
Cabinet Secretary for Finance and the Constitution
T4.07
The Scottish Parliament
Edinburgh EH99 1SP

Email: CabSecFC@gov.scot

Find your local MSP here: http://www.parliament.scot/msps.aspx

 

Below is our letter posted to Mr Mackay, from LAS Chair Peggy Hughes.

—-

Dear Derek,

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.

Yours sincerely,

Peggy Hughes
Chair of LAS

 

Literature Alliance Scotland Membership at November 2017

Members

  • 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)

 

Network Associates

  • 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.
Outcomes

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.

Society of Authors (in Scotland) supported the campaign with a letter from CEO Nicola Soloman, a piece on their website and in The Bookseller.

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.

 

November 30, 2017