Bectu responds to Creative Scotland use of Lottery reserves and Arts Council of Wales investment review

28 September 2023

Bectu is aware of reports from Creative Scotland that it will use National Lottery funding reserves to cover a funding shortfall this year. This comes after the Scottish Government announced a £6.6m cut in funding for the 2023/2024 year last December, which the Government then said they would reverse following industry lobbying.

However, the Government’s revised autumn budget statement, released yesterday, makes no mention of this reversal. Creative Scotland has now stated that it will use its reserves to cover this shortfall for the remainder of this year, so that funded companies won’t be affected.

Bectu is concerned about the devastating impact on the arts in Scotland if the cut is replicated in the budget for next year.

Arts Council of Wales investment review

Bectu is also aware that a number of Welsh arts organisations have not been granted funding in the Arts Council of Wales investment review published this week.

While grant funding, which comes from the Welsh government and National Lottery, is increasing across most areas of the creative arts, the union understands funding for opera will be reduced by more than £600,000 and theatre will lose more than £500,000.

 Head of Bectu Philippa Childs said:

“The way in which the Scottish Government has handled this issue is deeply concerning for our members. Earlier this year, after intense lobbying by Bectu and the industry, the Government acknowledged the significant impact this cut would have on the industry and announced a reversal. It is simply unacceptable for the Government to now not follow through on that decision.

“Bectu welcomes Creative Scotland’s decision to use Lottery reserves to protect companies from cuts this year but if these cuts are replicated in next year’s budget, then the outlook for the industry is extremely bleak. At a time when creative workers’ incomes have fallen in real terms and arts organisations are financially on their knees, a cut in next year’s funding will devastate the industry.

“If the Scottish Government cares about the importance of the arts and culture in Scotland then it needs to demonstrate that with proper funding levels.

“We are also working to understand implications of the Arts Council of Wales’ investment review, which includes funding cuts to organisations like the Welsh National Opera. We will be doing all we can to support our members impacted by this news.