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Summary of the Scottish Budget announcement for 2020/21

Image: Scottish Parliament

Earlier today the Scottish Government published its budget for 2020/21. The budget will be debated in Holyrood over the next few weeks, after which the government hopes it will be passed.

Unusually, the Scottish Government’s budget has been published without confirmation of how much money it will receive from Westminster (its block grant) for 2020/21. This is because of the timing of the General Election and the decision of Chancellor Sajid Javid to delay the announcement of the UK budget from last November to March 11th this year. Pressure for certainty from local authorities and public services has meant that the Scottish Government felt the need to press ahead and publish its budget, based on its estimates of the anticipated block grant.

In presenting the budget at Holyrood today, Public Finance Minister Kate Forbes focused on climate change, inclusive growth, health and social care. In terms of culture, the emphasis is on cultural participation under the priorities to be set out in the forthcoming Culture Strategy.

The total budget for Culture and Tourism is £231m (up just 0.7% from 2019/20). Allocation to ‘Creative Scotland & Other Arts’ increases by 2% on 2019/20 figures to £67.3m, while Cultural Collections see a 6% increase to £79.2m. Read the full breakdown of figures here

The budget document announces a first year of funding for a Cultural Youth Experience Fund and a third year of additional funding for Creative Scotland to offset the reduction of income from the National Lottery.

While the Culture Strategy has not yet been published the government recently published an analysis of responses to its draft stage.

Here are some extracts from the Scottish Budget 2020/21 relating specifically to cultural funding and investment:

“Our investment in culture and heritage supports our vision that Scotland is a place where culture is valued, protected and nurtured. While culture is valued in and of itself, it is also central to our wellbeing and prosperity. Everyone has the right to participate in cultural life, and we celebrate the diverse cultures of Scotland and the value of open cultural exchange with the wider world.”

Culture, Tourism and Major Events priorities

“We will continue to support the growth of our creative industries and the creative economy, including investing in Screen Scotland, a dedicated public sector partnership to support the screen sector. In addition, we will continue investment in the arts and culture through Creative Scotland. The National Collections and the five National Performing Companies will help ensure that Scotland’s unique culture reaches a wide audience at home and abroad.”

“Youth arts boost the skills of those who participate, help tackle inequalities and make Scotland a stronger, fairer and more inclusive society.”

“In 2020-21 we will:
• work with partners to support delivery of A Culture Strategy for Scotland centred on the three main ambitions: strengthening culture; transforming through culture; and empowering through culture, to realise the vision of a Scotland where everyone has an equal opportunity to experience culture’s empowering and transformative potential;
• enable Creative Scotland to maintain support, for a third year, for the Regular Funding Programme in the face of a significant decline in Lottery receipts;
• support the long-term development of cultural infrastructure such as the Paisley Museum Reimagined Project and the Scottish National Gallery Project;
• support the National Collections to continue to provide free access to the permanent collections and the National Performing Companies to inspire audiences at home and abroad.”

For a general overview, read the BBC’s Scottish Budget explainer