Arts funding in Scotland needs to be urgently reassessed and should be more focused on individual artists, a parliamentary committee of MSPs has argued.
In its first report into the country’s funding system as a whole, the Scottish parliament’s culture committee said artists face growing competition for grants in a system that is seen as overly bureaucratic and which does not adequately support them and their careers.
Among several recommendations, it suggests that the Scottish government should set out its approach to arts funding in its forthcoming culture strategy and that it should “give serious consideration” to apportioning at least 1% of its overall budget to culture.
It said: “Public funding of the arts will only be sustainable if artists are paid a fair wage and the committee therefore calls on the Scottish government and Creative Scotland to take urgent, robust action on this issue.”
The culture, tourism, Europe and external affairs committee, which held an inquiry beginning in March this year, spoke to a range of artists and other stakeholders to put together the report.
MSPs recommendations also include introducing a peer review section to its funding application process in order to put artists at the centre of its approach, as well as calling on the government to set Creative Scotland’s funding in the long-term to allow artists to plan.
“This inquiry has also highlighted the need for the Scottish government to plan for known challenges to arts funding in the medium-term that threaten artists’ ability to produce work and plan for the future, including Brexit and fluctuations in Creative Scotland’s National Lottery income,” it said.
Creative Scotland currently receives £90 million in public money each year, 70% from Holyrood and 30% from the National Lottery.
Deputy convener, MSP Claire Baker, said: “As culture is not a protected budget, it is vulnerable to funding pressures, and the provision of cultural services across the country is variable. A sustainable arts funding system is one where the Scottish government and local authorities work in partnership to support creativity in all parts of Scotland, and there is a need to reset this relationship.”
The committee’s inquiry came after former Creative Scotland head Janet Archer committed to a “root-and-branch review” of how it funds organisations, following the announcement of its 2018-2021 funding round.
This saw the funding of 20 arts companies be completely cut by Creative Scotland in early 2018, prompting widespread criticism and the resignation of two of its board members.
She later resigned, and Creative Scotland is now led by chief executive Iain Munro, who was appointed full time in October.
A statement from the Scottish government said: “We thank the culture, tourism, Europe and external affairs committee for their report on funding of the arts.
“We will carefully consider its contents and respond in due course.”