Constitution, Europe, External Affairs and Culture Committee Pre-Budget Scrutiny 2025-26

Closes 9 Aug 2024

Opened 17 Jun 2024


The Committee agreed to take a cumulative approach to budget scrutiny over Session 6, focusing on the culture spending portfolio.

This inquiry follows on from the Committee’s previous pre-budget scrutiny in advance of Budget 2022-23, 2023-24 and 2024-25.

The Committee wants to hear from individuals, groups and businesses operating within the culture sector. These views will help the Committee to make recommendations to the Scottish Government ahead of its Budget for 2025-26.


Planned budget increases

The Scottish Government committed to increasing its investment in arts and culture by £100 million by 2028-29. In doing so, it said it will—

  • Increase opportunities for participation in creative pursuits;
  • Support the production of new works; and
  • Ensure that Scotland’s cultural output has platforms at home and abroad.

The Cabinet Secretary for Culture indicated that £25 million is intended to be added to the culture budget for 2025-26.

1. How should planned budget increases for the culture portfolio in Budget 2025-26 be prioritised to support improved cultural outcomes?

Culture Strategy Action Plan

The Scottish Government published its refreshed Culture Strategy Action Plan in December 2023.

The Cabinet Secretary told the Committee last year that “the priorities” for the “increased investment through to 2028-29 will be taken forward in line with our Culture Strategy Action Plan Refresh.”

2. To what extent does the Culture Strategy Action Plan deliver the Committee’s recommendation that it should “provide a clear and strategic sense of how the Scottish Government is working to ensure a more sustainable future for the sector”? 

3. How should the Culture Strategy Action Plan inform the budgetary decisions of the Scottish Government, and the priorities and spending decisions of other partners in the culture sector?

Progress on innovative funding solutions

In our report last year, the Committee expressed concern that there had been—

  • No indication of progress made by the Scottish Government on our recommendations on mainstreaming culture across portfolios and developing cross-portfolio funding for culture;
  • No indication of progress made by the Scottish Government on its 2021 Programme for Government commitment to “begin work on establishing a ‘Percentage for the Arts’ scheme”; and
  • Limited progress on the Scottish Government’s 2021 Programme for Government commitment to “invest in much-needed stability for the cultural organisations that we provide regular funding for, by agreeing 3-year funding settlements, to allow them to plan for a sustainable recovery”. 

The Committee’s view was that there is a need for much greater urgency and a clear pathway to make tangible progress on these innovative funding solutions.

4. What progress has been made in the last 12 months on taking forward innovative funding solutions?

Creative Scotland’s Multi-Year Funding Programme

A significant change in the culture funding landscape moving forward will be the implementation of Creative Scotland’s new Multi-Year Funding Programme. It will offer funding for creative and cultural organisations, supporting core costs and their programmes of work for the initial period of April 2025 to March 2028.

5. How successful has the process of implementing Creative Scotland’s Multi-Year Funding Programme been thus far in delivering longer-term clarity and confidence for the culture sector?

Fair work

The Scottish Government has said it will “continue to work on making the culture and heritage sector part of Scotland as a Fair Work Nation by 2025”.

A Culture Sector Fair Work Task Force has been established to provide recommendations on priority actions that Scottish Government and partners can take to further Fair Work across the culture sector in support of the creative and cultural workforce.

Fair Work is also one of Creative Scotland’s three strategic priorities and one of their funding criteria.

6. What progress has been made in delivering fair work across the culture sector and what should be the priorities for further progress?

How to submit your views

Please submit your views using the online submission form, linked to below.

We welcome written views in English, Gaelic, Scots or any other language. 

The call for views closes on 9 August 2024.