Creative Scotland is facing a multi-million pound cut to its Scottish Government funding.
Scottish arts charities and campaigners are among those demanding a reversal of significant cuts that unions claim could risk 8,500 jobs across the country.
On Monday the Scottish Government was urged to u-turn on a 10% cut to Creative Scotland budgets, with concerns this would put many organisations and workers’ jobs at risk.
The Scotsman reports that a proposed £7million cut in the national arts agency’s grant for the next financial year has been put forward by ministers, who have been accused of using culture jobs as “cannon fodder” to make savings in their budget plans.
Unions have said that those who will be affected are already some of the most precarious workers in Scotland, facing insecure futures as it is.
Creative Scotland faces having to use £7m from its £17m national lottery reserves to preserve “standstill” funding agreements for 120 companies, venues and organisations - including charities - over the year.
Charity Campaign for the Arts and charity-backed network Culture Counts - who represent arts, heritage and creative industries organisations - have already seen an online petition backed by more than 12,000 people highlighting the cuts.
The groups claim 5,000 permanent jobs, as well as 3,500 freelance workers from 120 “regularly-funded organisations” would be at risk.
A letter, quoted in the Scotsman, from STUC general secretary Roz Foyer, said: “We’ve been campaigning for increased support for all workers right across Scotland to receive the urgent assistance they need to survive the cost-of-living emergency.
“Among the most precarious of these are those in our creative industries. They're twice as likely as other workers to be working two jobs and are disproportionately subject to low pay and insecure work. They’ve also been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic.
"At a time when we should be rebuilding our creative industries, cutting arts funding is the wrong choice at the wrong time. It seems perverse to simply cut funding in this way without any seeming rationale for doing so.”
Moira Jeffrey, chair of the Culture Counts steering group, told the newspaper: “Our sector has repeatedly sounded the alarm on the devastating effect this will have on both workers and organisations.
“We remain hopeful that the Scottish Government will reverse the cut, and work with the creative sector to enable our highly skilled workforce to grow and thrive, for the benefit of communities throughout Scotland.”
Campaign for the Arts director Jack Gamble added: “In just a few short days, thousands of people from communities across Scotland have joined our campaign to urge the Scottish Government to think again.
"So much is at stake – not just for those who work in the cultural industries and depend on them for their livelihoods, but for all of us.
"When the arts and culture flourish, we all benefit – personally, socially and economically. Especially now, the arts should be supported, not cut.”
A government spokesman told the Scotsman: “We value the importance of cultural organisations and their contribution to the wellbeing of the country to promote the arts, provide employment and engage with communities across Scotland.
“It is for these reasons, among many others, that we provided £256 million in COVID support funding to help them navigate the challenges brought on by the pandemic.
“However, given the current difficult public expenditure environment, there are significant pressures on funding.
"We’ve provided Creative Scotland with over £33 million over five years to compensate for generally reduced lottery funding. When we’re facing difficult funding decisions, the time is right for Creative Scotland to draw on the lottery reserves available to them.”