Labour calls for more support for Scotland's culture sector

Lothian Labour MSP Foysol Choudhury has called for a “culture recovery” as MSPs prepare to return to parliament following the Christmas break.

By Ian Swanson
Saturday, 8th January 2022, 4:55 am

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Mr Choudhury, who is also Labour’s shadow culture minister, welcomed the recent Scottish Government announcement on additional funding for the sector, but said a number of small community culture groups across Scotland were still struggling to gain access to crucial sources of finance.

Urging further help as part of a long-term recovery plan for arts and culture, he said Scotland’s got a big return for a small investment in the sector.

Lothian Labour MSP Foysol Choudhury

In announcements before and after Christmas, the government set out a £65 million rescue package for the Scottish cultural sector in the wake of new Covid curbs which may have to be kept in place for months.

Venue and cultural businesses have been allocated £31.5m; £2m will go to national companies; the live events sector will get £19.8m; £10m support will be available for individual performers; and £1.7m has been set aside for museums, galleries and heritage attractions.

Mr Choudhury said: “Parliament returns after the Christmas break on Monday and there can be no doubt, as the Omicron variant continues to spread, our culture sector needs help more than ever.

“The arts and culture sector needs a long-term recovery plan that will respond and support the sector. It was one of the first to shut and will be among the last to fully open.

“People’s livelihoods have been decimated and too many have fallen through the cracks.

“Whilst the Government has announced funding which is welcomed, many are still facing barriers to gaining access to funding, particularly our smaller, community cultural groups.

“We need to better recognise the role our cultural and creative industries have in contributing to our economy and society.”

He said just 0.2 per cent of the Scottish budget was spent on culture.

"Scotland gets so much back for so little investment,” he added.

“We need protection for essential cultural, social infrastructure in our communities which includes our local museums, historical sites, libraries and archivist services.

“Scotland needs a genuine culture recovery as we emerge from Covid-19 and as shadow culture minister, I will hold the Government to account and ensure Scotland's culture sector not only recovers from the pandemic but truly prospers. When Scottish Culture prospers, Scotland prospers.’’

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