An issue which I have been working to highlight recently is the issue of investment in cultural activities in the North East, as this is another area where it is clear that the North East has fallen significantly behind other parts of Scotland in terms of funding.
I have most recently raised concerns over Creative Scotland’s decision not to award Aberdeen’s Sound festival regular funding. Sound is a local festival of new music and caters for all tastes. The festival brings together a wide range of musical styles in a variety of concerts, workshops, installations and talks across North East Scotland and has been a great success.
The context of this decision is that in terms of Creative Scotland’s Three Year funding of arts organisations across Scotland, Aberdeen receives £9.67 per capita compared to £55 in Dundee, £49 in Glasgow and almost £80 in Edinburgh.
We have seen under investment in the North East for some time now from this Scottish Government from our local NHS to our local councils. Creative arts funding is just the latest in a long line. I will be asking a question in parliament at General Questions where I will raise these concerns direct with Scottish Government Ministers. I will seek a commitment from them to begin to rectify this situation, with the most obvious approach to addressing this inequity being a decision to award regular funding to the highly successful Sound festival.
I understand that Creative Scotland explain that the monies awarded to projects in the central belt include a number who tour to Aberdeen and the North East however the important aspect which this fails to address is the ability for the North East to attract and retain artists within our communities enhancing the rich cultural offering we have.
It is hugely important that the North East gets the support we need from Creative Scotland to help add to our rich cultural offering and to ensure we can attract and retain artists based in this area. To have the funds largely based in the central belt is unacceptable and I hope that Ministers will accept this and take steps to ensure this is no longer the case going forward.