MP in plea to Scottish Government to help save Edinburgh's Murrayfield ice rink

THE Scottish Government has been urged to come up with cash to save Edinburgh’s Murrayfield ice rink from closure since it was willing to help fund a festive skating venue.

By Ian Swanson
Saturday, 14th November 2020, 7:00 am
Updated Sunday, 15th November 2020, 3:32 pm
Murrayfield ice rink says without help it will remain closed for the foreseeable future   Picture Toby Williams
Murrayfield ice rink says without help it will remain closed for the foreseeable future Picture Toby Williams

Edinburgh West Lib Dem MP Christine Jardine said the government ought to offer the same support to facilities like Murrayfield as it did to encourage rivals coming to the city.

Murrayfield ice rink announced on October 13 that it would remain closed “for the foreseeable future” because of Covid and would need outside funding to survive the crisis.

But earlier this year the government awarded hundreds of thousands of pounds to Underbelly for Edinburgh’s Christmas, including an ice rink on George Street, although all the crowd-pulling Edinburgh’s Christmas activities have now been cancelled.

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The owners of Murrayfield say it will take major investment to allow it to reopen and operate in the current crisis.

Ms Jardine said: “The SNP government seems tone deaf to the calls from the skating community across Scotland to support this much-loved facility and just turned its back on their appeals.

“Why are they not prepared to offer the ice rink the same sort of support from the UK Government’s Recovery Fund as they offered the winter festival?

"As Edinburgh’s only permanent skating rink and nationally recognised facility, we should do everything we can to protect it. At a time when we are encouraging people to live healthier lives, it’s the sort of facility that should be getting support from both governments and the council to keep going.”

A spokesperson for Underbelly, which runs Edinburgh’s winter festivals, said: “In what has been an unprecedented year for businesses from every sector, we wish Murrayfield ice rink the very best in their fundraising efforts so that they can return to business soon.

"We’d also like to correct the suggestion that the Cultural Recovery Fund, which is a UK Government fund administered by Arts Council England, supported our Edinburgh’s winter festivals activity.

"It didn’t - it’s restricted solely to support our activities south of the Border.”

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