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Stone says proposed £6.6 million cut to Creative Scotland's budget is 'extremely distressing'

By Gordon Calder

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FAR north MP, Jamie Stone, has described a proposed cut of £6.6 million from Creative Scotland's budget as "extremely distressing."

He has written to the Scottish Government asking it to reconsider the plan. The Liberal Democrat MP for Caithness, Sutherland and easter Ross, pointed out that Creative Scotland is the public body responsible for investing in Scottish arts and culture. He said the the plan would adversely impact the businesses and people who work in the sector.

Mr Stone accused the Scottish Government of making a U-turn after previously reassuring the creative industries the cuts would not go ahead.

He said: "The prospect of these cuts is extremely distressing for the many businesses that work tirelessly to provide economic benefits to Scotland through tourism and employment. This decision will only compound the hardships suffered by these industries during the pandemic and cost of living crisis."

Jamie Stone wants Scottish Government to reconsider its plans to cut £6.6 million from Creative Scotland's budget
Jamie Stone wants Scottish Government to reconsider its plans to cut £6.6 million from Creative Scotland's budget

"What’s more, this is a small portion of money relative to the Scottish Government’s budget which will have disproportionate consequences on Scotland’s people, communities and economy.

"The Scottish Government’s U-turn has created false hope for so many – they held their promise out like a carrot on a stick and it has come to nothing. We should value those who keep our culture and heritage alive and accessible, not punish them, added the MP.

In his letter, Mr Stone, criticised the proposal and claimed proceeding with the cuts "would seriously undermine the Scottish Government’s claims about how much it values culture" and renege on its previously stated commitment earlier this year to reinstate the cuts.

He said: "The positive and far-reaching impact of culture is widely acknowledged – with the pandemic illustrating just how valued creative industries are for their positive impact on people’s well-being." The sector, he claimed, helps promote Scotland's "reputation on the world stage."

"This is why it is distressing to learn of the proposal to cut £6.6 million from Creative Scotland’s budget," added Mr Stone.

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