Sunday, 16 January 2011


The verdict on Scotland's arts budget: comparatively protected

Funding for the arts and culture has been, relatively speaking, protected in Scotland

So, there is another way. An early read of the Scottish budget brings us news that the Scottish arts and culture budget will be a great deal more protected than that in England. Whereas Arts Council England's budget is to be cut by 30%, Creative Scotland's budget is frozen for 2011-12. National companies and collections will take a 4% cut (cf 15% for national museums in England). Here's a bit more detail:

- The Creative Scotland budget (ie the body cast from the old Scottish Arts Council and Screen Scotland) is frozen for 2011-12. "We have maintained its core budget of £35.5 million for this purpose, in the knowledge that significant efficiencies have already been made through moving to a single arts and culture body. We have also maintained ring-fenced funding for Arts and Business (£0.3 million) to help maximise private sector investment in the arts."

- A £20.5m capital pot will continue to exist to support major projects – V&A Dundee, Glasgow Royal Concert Hall refurb, Glasgow Theatre Royal refurb. Figure on Dundee V&A to be announced in due course.

- National companies (eg National Theatre of Scotland, Scottish Opera and Scottish Ballet) and national collections (National Galleries of Scotland, etc) are to have a 4% cut. Government keen to preserve free entry to museums.

- Historic Scotland cut by 7%. Body expected to make efficiencies.

- Expo fund for the Edinburgh festivals to be retained.

The tweets of the most excellent Phil Miller, arts correspondent of the Herald, can usefully be followed on this story: @PhilipJEMiller



17 November 2010 9:47PM

There are many significant differences between both the budgets and the politics of Scotland and England as well as the cultural dimensions. The most important aspect regarding funding for culture in today's budget is that this is a one year holding budget from the SNP minority administration before next May's election.Another is that we have been spared the public flogging of the Arts Council of England because we have already taken the pain of abolishing the Scottish Arts Council in the course of establishing the more streamlined agency Creative Scotland.
But the overall cut to the culture budget is 10% which is higher than the 6.9% John Swinney cited as the standard cut applied to non ring-fenced services.
So its the next instalments which will shape the story.



18 November 2010 11:53AM

That would be 'our' pain in Anne Bonnar's and a host of other consultants' pockets!

But Anne's right to stress it's an SNP minority administration holding budget before next May's Holyrood elections.

So, Anne:
What were SAC/ SS combined core grants?
What are the full costs of changing over to Creative Scotland?
What are Creative Scotland's expected prior 'savings' on SAC/ SS?
What happens after 2011-12, after the Holyrood elections?

On prior 'savings', we can see a glimpse here : part 3 – creative scotland Overall level of costs and savings for Creative Scotland

And just where is the mainstream journalism in Scotland willing to do a 5 year comparison, similar to:


8th Report, 2009 (Session 3)

Stage 1 Report on the Public Services Reform (Scotland) Bill



part 3 – creative scotland

Overall level of costs and savings for Creative Scotland

196. As indicated above, the FM sets out a range of costs and savings, and a “best estimate”. In terms of Creative Scotland, if the higher estimate of costs is used, transition costs would total £4.44 million and savings at the end of 2013 would total £3.66 million.136 In response to concerns that the new organisation would not be making net savings by 2013, officials explained that, in their view, the upper estimate of costs would be “quite unlikely to happen”, due to the uncertainties around many of the transition costs (most notably the costs of the voluntary early severance/retirement scheme – see paragraphs 197 – 198).137 In addition, the bill team explained that while some savings could be quantified at this point—

“[…] we [also] expect savings to arise from streamlining of processes, but we cannot quantify them at the moment, so they have not been included in the estimated savings. However, we will expect those figures to increase.”138

Staff costs

197. A significant potential area of cost, with a wide margin of uncertainty, is provision for a voluntary early severance/retirement (“VES/ER”) scheme. The FM explains that there will be no compulsory redundancies as a result of the restructuring (in line with commitments made by the Scottish Government on the simplification programme), and that “savings will be achieved through natural wastage, redeployment and re-skilling where appropriate.”139 However, the FM goes on to state that should it be necessary, “a cost effective voluntary early severance/retirement scheme will be made available.”140

198. On the basis of the “most favourable” Scottish Arts Council terms, the FM estimates that the cost of the VES/ER will be between £500,000 and £1.5m, with a best estimate of £1.1m.141 These estimates are based on a headcount reduction of 30 full time equivalent (“FTE”) posts, as outlined in the FM. However, the Creative Scotland Business Model, published in October 2009, sets out plans for a headcount reduction of 35 FTE posts.142 The Committee appreciates the points made in correspondence from the bill team that there are a range of factors which contribute to the uncertainties around these figures, and that the VES/ER scheme will only be used when other methods have been exhausted. The Committee also notes that the Minister for Culture, External Affairs and the Constitution has already met with relevant trades unions and expects to continue discussions on this issue.143

Non-staff costs

199. The major element of non-staff costs in setting up the new body is for harmonising business systems and IT. The FM again gives a wide range of possible costs (£300,000 - £600,000) and a best estimate of £400,000. The bill team explained that there is a range of factors behind the difference in upper and lower estimates and that different levels of integration between the two bodies are possible.144 The Committee also understands that Creative Scotland 2009 Ltd is tasked with providing recommendations on this area and it is not therefore possible for the Scottish Government to provide more clarity at this stage.

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