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Creative Scotland warns of upcoming cuts as cash continues to fall

Creative Scotland acting chief executive Iain Munro. Photo: Drew Farrell Creative Scotland acting chief executive Iain Munro. Photo: Drew Farrell
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Creative Scotland has warned that it will have to reduce its network of regularly funded organisations because of the continuing decline in its income from National Lottery funds.

The organisation is in the final stages of setting up the next three-year cycle of RFO funding. The current cycle runs to April 2018, during which time 119 arts organisations will have received a total of £100 million in funding.

The application for the 2018-21 funding cycle closed in April this year with 184 eligible applications requesting a total of £153 million for the three-year period.

Creative Scotland has already warned that because of “pressure” on Scottish Government grant, it is “unlikely that there will be an uplift in funding to many RFOs”.

In a letter to the RFOs this week, Iain Munro, deputy chief executive of Creative Scotland, outlined the decline in National Lottery income, which he said had a 15% year-on-year reduction in 2016/17 and is continuing on this downward trend.

“This means we are having to budget very carefully for 2018/19 and subsequent years,” he said.

“National Lottery funds constitute 18% of the regular funding budget however, given the sharp decline in income we are experiencing, it is unrealistic to allocate funds in a similar way in future.

“With this in mind, the overall budget available to support regular funding 2018-21 will be even more challenging than at first anticipated, resulting in a lower overall budget and fewer organisations in the network.”

Creative Scotland’s current portfolio includes 21 theatre companies, 11 dance and 31 multi-artform organisations, including the Edinburgh International Festival and Imaginate, as well as theatres including the Citizens Theatre in Glasgow, and the Royal Lyceum and Traverse theatres in Edinburgh.

However, the arts body will unable to make final decisions on allocation of funding for the next period until the Scottish Government publishes its draft budget on December 14.

Creative Scotland’s open project funding budget – which gives grants of up to £100,000 – also uses National Lottery money and has experienced a cut from £11.48 million in 2016/17 to £10.54 million in the current financial year.

RFO funding does not include monies to the national companies, including the National Theatre of Scotland.