South Scotland MSP Colin Smyth has called on the Scottish Government to ensure local venues, organisations and individual artists in the south of Scotland are able to benefit from extra cash which has been earmarked for Scotland’s arts and cultural sector.
On Friday afternoon (3 July), the Scottish Government revealed it will provide £10m to support performing arts venues.
And this was backed up this yesterday (6 July), with the UK Government announcing a £1.57bn support package to help protect the futures of UK theatres, galleries, museums and other cultural venues. Around £97m of this fund will be handed over to Scotland as devolved funding.
Many arts venues in the south of Scotland have been hit hard by the Covid-19 lockdown and will continue to suffer even as lockdown eases.
Colin Smyth said: “Here in the south of Scotland we have some amazing arts and culture venues and organisations that not only enhance our local culture but play a huge economic role in the region.
“However, many have been hit hard by lockdown and while other sectors start to recover as lockdown eases, arts venues will continue to suffer as social distancing measures come into play.
“These funds from the Scottish and UK Governments could prove to be a lifeline for many struggling local venues, but we must ensure that the money is properly distributed across Scotland and that smaller venues in more rural areas don’t lose out to the bigger theatres and museums in the central belt.
“I’m calling on the Scottish Government to look long and hard at where this money would best be distributed. The last thing I want is for our fantastic smaller venues to lose out.”