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Scotland should look to philanthropists to help fund arts, says Robertson

Scotland’s Culture Secretary has said the country should look to wealthy benefactors to help fund the arts.

The Scottish Government has repeatedly warned of its financial difficulty, with last month’s budget for the year ahead forced to make a number of cuts and raise taxes to plug a £1.5 billion black hole.

However, funding for the culture sector increased by £16.6 million – from £180.8 million to £196.6 million – with Creative Scotland and other arts bodies seeing an increase of £11.1 million after a £6.6 million cut in the autumn budget revisions.

Edinburgh Festival Fringe
Funding for the culture sector increased by £16.6 million (Jane Barlow/PA)

Speaking before the Constitution, Europe, External Affairs and Culture Committee at Holyrood on Thursday, Angus Robertson said the country should look to philanthropists to help increase funding for the arts.

He said: “I’ve thought for quite a while that, in addition to what Government does, in addition to what local government does, in addition to these additional funding streams, I think we also have an opportunity to work much more closely with people who – through their generosity or the generosity of the trusts and foundations that they may be involved in – that we can work much better together with the philanthropic sector, both domestically and internationally and I look forward to exploring these things.

“None of them provide the single answer to the concerns that we know very well about the funding situation that the sector has been going through, but I think they all potentially play a part in the answer to helping it be as well funded as I hope we all agree it should be.”

The Culture Secretary said it was “absolutely right” for the Scottish Government to look at “all potential options” to support the sector, but admitted there was no “single silver bullet”.