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National Lottery funding - letter from Creative Scotland's Chair

Ben Thomson, the Chair of Creative Scotland, has written to the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport regarding concerns about declining revenue from the National Lottery. We publish the letter in full here:

To the Rt Hon Karen Bradley MP, Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport

Dear Ms Bradley,

I am writing to you in my capacity as Chair of Creative Scotland to set out our concerns regarding declining revenue from the National Lottery and the consequent reduction in income available to our organisation and, as a direct result, to the people and organisations we support across the arts, screen and creative industries in Scotland.

We are particularly concerned about funding for the arts where the National Lottery income has over the last decade had an enormous positive impact in supporting and developing Scotland's festivals, theatre, dance, art, music, literature and other art forms, leading to a position where Scotland is now recognised internationally for its art and culture.

Since the change of UK regulation and the opening up of the lottery market to greater competition, the overall National Lottery income for good causes has reduced by 14% between 2015/16 and 2016/17 and has reduced by a further 4% in the first half of 2017 /18. The impact on Creative Scotland has been a fall of in total some £6million. We expect significant continuing reductions in the remainder of 2017/18 and 2018/19.

National Lottery income makes up 40% of Creative Scotland's total income, alongside Grant in Aid from the Scottish Government. Therefore, unless other funding can be found, these reductions will have a significant negative impact on our ability to fund arts organisations, in particular. We estimate the impact of the reduction will lead to the significant loss of jobs and some £30m of revenue generated from other sources to the arts in Scotland. Overall, we believe it will negatively impact the vibrancy of Scotland's arts sector, is of critical concern and has a high public profile.

These year-on-year declines prove extremely challenging against the backdrop of pressure on Scottish Government budgets. In line with earlier communications you have received from our Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Europe, Tourism and External Affairs, Fiona Hyslop, we would like to encourage the development of a recovery plan that sets out the action needed to stem the reductions in income from the National Lottery and therefore mitigate against the unravelling of culture funding in Scotland and, indeed, across the UK.

This could, for example, involve relaxing the marketing spend restrictions placed on Camelot enabling them to compete effectively with the other commercial lotteries that have emerged in recent years. It could also look at ways to use other public sector funding targeted in particular areas such as the touring program and international brand building which have a more UK wide remit.

I would also be keen to discuss this issue in more detail with you directly, also involving the CEO of Creative Scotland, Janet Archer, and I will contact your office to see if it were possible to arrange a time to speak.

Yours sincerely,

Ben Thomson
Chair, Creative Scotland

9 November 2017