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Scottish government demands Westminster tackle ‘challenging’ Lottery funding decline

Scottish culture secretary Fiona Hyslop Scottish culture secretary Fiona Hyslop
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Scottish culture secretary Fiona Hyslop has called on the UK government to develop a recovery plan to address the decreasing National Lottery income for good causes.

This falling revenue and the consequent reduction in Lottery money available are a threat to to sports and cultural jobs and projects across Scotland, Hyslop and sport minister Aileen Campbell said in a letter to their Westminster counterpart, Karen Bradley, on November 7.

National Lottery income for good causes fell by 14% between 2015/16 and 2016/17 and by a further 4% in the first half of 2017/18.

Continuing reductions are forecast for the remainder of 2017/18 and in 2018/19.

The letter says: “These year-on-year declines prove extremely challenging against the backdrop of continued austerity measures imposed by Westminster, which will see the Scottish government’s budget cut by £2.9 billion over a 10-year period.

“It would be irresponsible of the UK government to make no attempt to offset the reductions in Lottery income. We encourage you to develop a recovery plan that sets out the action to address the reductions and therefore mitigate against the impact to these sectors in Scotland and across the rest of the UK.”

The letter comes one month after a warning from Creative Scotland that it will have to reduce its network of 119 regularly funded organisations due to the continuing decline in its income from National Lottery funds.

Creative Scotland is receiving £28.5 million from the National Lottery in 2017/18, making up 38.5% of its total income.

This accounts for 18% of its expenditure on regularly funded organisations, 99% of its project funding and 41% of its targeted funds.

A Creative Scotland spokesperson told The Stage that it has also made formal representation to Bradley, through its interim chair Ben Thomson. “This sets out his concerns regarding declining revenue from the UK National Lottery and the consequent reduction in income available to our organisation and, as a direct result, to the people and organisations we support across the arts and creative sectors in Scotland.”

The spokesperson pointed out that the subsidised arts sector provides a fulcrum for Scotland’s wider creative industries growth, which contributed £4.6 billion to the economy in 2015, up 23.6% from 2014, according to Scottish government growth sector statistics published in October.

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