Today marks the beginning of the Edinburgh festivals – the biggest arts festival in the world. Scotland will welcome more than 25,000 performers, from around 70 countries – with a total audience as big as the world cup!
As well as showcasing the depth and breadth of Scotland’s artistic talent, the festivals are a reminder of the enormous contribution the creative sector makes to our economy.
In government, the SNP is working to provide a platform for our artists to continue flourish, to take their work to an international audience and improve access to the arts for all. And, at Westminster, we continue to be strong voices for Scotland’s creative sector.
Here’s how we’re supporting creativity in Scotland.
A £10 million boost for the Edinburgh festivals.
The Scottish Government and Edinburgh City Council have pledged £5 million each over five years for a new programme to boost the cultural and economic impact of the festivals.
This is in addition to the Expo Fund, which has supported Edinburgh festivals since 2008 with £19 million of funding. The fund supports works premiered at the festivals to tour within Scotland or further afield; work by Scottish-based artists or companies; and work created jointly with international artists.
Supporting our world-class National Performing Companies
Scotland has five national companies that we are committed to funding in government: Scottish Ballet, Scottish Opera, the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, the Scottish Chamber Orchestra and the National Theatre of Scotland. We are also continuing to provide an International Touring Fund to help the national companies perform overseas.
And as part of the Edinburgh and South East Scotland City Deal, the Scottish Government has committed £10 million to support the development of a new performance venue that will serve as the new home of the Scottish Chamber Orchestra.
Supporting the film and TV sector
In 2017 spending on film and TV production in Scotland reached a record £95 million – an increase of more than 300 per cent compared to 2007.
A dedicated Screen Unit for film and TV, based within Creative Scotland, has also now been set up – backed up with £10 million of Scottish Government investment. The Unit will oversee support from development through to production and distribution.
A new £3 million Broadcast Content Fund has also been launched to support productions for television, digital broadcast and streaming platforms that showcase Scotland.
A Culture Strategy for Scotland
A new Culture Strategy has been drafted and is open for consultation. The draft strategy has been developed in collaboration with artists, cultural organisations and communities across the country and will support the long-term development of culture in Scotland.
Improving access to the arts for all
As part of the Year of Young People 2018, we are creating a Cultural Youth Experience Fund to improve existing cultural opportunities for young people.
We have committed to £9 million to the Youth Music Initiative this year, ensuring all primary school children have the opportunity to experience music tuition by the time they leave primary school. In 2016-17, 244,000 young people took part in the Initiative.
Protecting our culture sector from the damage of Brexit
We are working to protect Scotland’s place the European Single Market, the continuation of freedom of movement and the funding programmes our cultural sector currently benefit from.
Scotland’s cultural sector benefits immensely from the free flow of artists across Europe – we believe that this sharing of ideas and talent should continue.
At Westminster, we will continue to demand clarity and certainty over existing EU funding and will fight any and all attempts to grab Scotland’s funding.