We Need You!
30 Nov 2017
I'm writing to you to make you aware of our deep concerns about the severe impact of potential cuts in funding to the cultural sector in the forthcoming 2018-19 Scottish budget and to ask for your help.
As you know, Comar is an RFO, a Regularly Funded Organisation supported by Creative Scotland. In April of this year we submitted an application for further funding for 2018-21. Everyone in the arts sector in Scotland is now being warned that, when budgets are finalised and the results of the latest round of funding applications are announced in late January, we should expect a reduction in the number of Regularly Funded Organisations and that those that survive should expect a reduction in income from Creative Scotland. This is as a direct result of expected cuts in the Scottish Government’s Grant-In-Aid to Creative Scotland, together with the reduction in Lottery funds. We believe this will have a disastrous effect not only on Comar and the cultural offering on Mull and Iona but on the entire Scottish cultural scene.
The UK Budget was, as you know, last week. The Scottish Government budget will be announced on 14th December. Over these next two weeks the Scottish Government will be taking crucial decisions. What they decide will determine Creative Scotland’s budget which will affect all our futures.
Please take a few minutes to do something that could really help. Please contact your MSPs and contact the Culture, Tourism, Europe & External Relations Committee of the Scottish Parliament. Make sure they know what matters to you. If you value what Comar contributes through its vibrant theatre, music, dance, visual art and creative learning programmes then this is your moment to make a difference.
We have prepared a template for an email or letter (see below and attached) which you can send as a Supporter Member of Comar. Please use this or adapt it as you see fit and send copies to as many of the following as you can:
Constituency Member for Argyll and Bute
Michael Russell (SNP) Michael.Russell.email@example.com
Regional List MSPs for the Highlands and Islands
John Finnie (Green) John.Finnie.firstname.lastname@example.org
Maree Todd (SNP) Maree.Todd.email@example.com
David Stewart (Labour) David.Stewart.firstname.lastname@example.org
Rhoda Grant (Labour) Rhoda.Grant.email@example.com
Jamie Halcro Johnston
Sir Edward Mountain, (Conservative)Edward.Mountain.firstname.lastname@example.org
Donald Cameron (Conservative)Donald.Cameron.email@example.com
The Culture, Tourism, Europe & External Relations Committee
The Clerk to the Committee Twitter: @SP_European firstname.lastname@example.org
Joan McAlpine MSP, Convener, SNP. Twitter: @JoanMcAlpineJoan.McAlpine.email@example.com
Lewis Macdonald MSP, Labour Party spokesperson on culture. Twitter: @LewisMacdMSPLewis.Macdonald.firstname.lastname@example.org
Jackson Carlaw MSP, Conservative. Twitter: @Carlaw4EastwoodJackson.Carlaw.email@example.com
Mairi Gougeon MSP, SNP. Twitter: @MairiGougeonMairi.Gougeon.firstname.lastname@example.org
Ross Greer MSP, Green Party spokesperson on culture. Twitter: @Ross_Greer Ross.Greer.email@example.com
Rachael Hamilton MSP, Conservative Party spokesperson on culture. Twitter: @Rachael2winRachael.Hamilton.firstname.lastname@example.org
Richard Lochhead MSP, SNP. Twitter: @RichardLochheadRichard.Lochhead.email@example.com
Stuart McMillan MSP, SNP. Twitter: @StuMcMillanSNPStuart.McMillan.firstname.lastname@example.org
Tavish Scott MSP, Liberal Democrat. Twitter: @tavishscottTavish.Scott.email@example.com
Please copy and paste the letter below or click the download
I am writing as a Supporter of Comar to express my concern about the severe impact of potential cuts to revenue funding for the cultural sector in the forthcoming 2018-19 Scottish budget.
Comar is a multi-arts organisation, part of the Creative Scotland portfolio of Regularly Funded Organisations, delivering outstanding cultural experiences on Mull and Iona, in Argyll and Bute and across the Highlands and Islands, as well as contributing to Scotland's vibrant cultural sector. Being based in a remote, rural area of low population we are more than usually dependent on the resolve of the Scottish Government to make quality cultural experiences available to everyone regardless of their postcode. We are being warned that, when budgets are finalised and the results of the latest round of funding applications are announced in late January, we should expect a reduction in the number of Regularly Funded Organisations and that those that survive should expect a reduction in income from Creative Scotland.
Our organisation has been on standstill funding for years and given the increase in costs generally this represents a substantial reduction in real terms. Any further cuts will jeopardise future commissioning, production and touring of theatre, music and visual arts as well as dealing a critical blow to our acclaimed creative learning programme, which brings substantial benefits to children, young people, the elderly and those living in areas of rural isolation. This would leave a massive hole in the provision of arts and cultural experiences on the west coast and flies in the face of any attempt to develop our nation's rightly celebrated cultural profile.
Comar has very widespread support in Mull and Iona, as demonstrated through a significant upsurge in membership and the huge public and media interest in the last few years when the future of the company was in jeopardy. The communities of Mull and Iona stood resolutely with their arts organisation in a way which brought inspiration to many and which led on to the creation of a new, sustainable model for the company and for arts provision in the region; sustainable, that is, given continuity of funding from government sources.
We believe even a small cut in the Scottish Government’s Grant-In-Aid to Creative Scotland, together with the reduction in Lottery funds and local authority cuts, has the potential to devastate Scotland’s arts and culture infrastructure. Damage to this infrastructure, which has been developed over the last fifty years with the aid of public investment, and which is widely admired, will be irredeemable.
Just a small increase in funding would allow the core infrastructure of arts and culture in Scotland to survive and to thrive. It would ensure that direct grants to artists are not wiped out; it would fund creative learning and outreach programmes which engage with our harder to reach audiences; it could fund new international collaborations that develop our international reputation.
I appreciate that there are huge pressures on all public funding and that difficult decisions lie ahead. 92% of Scottish people believe it is right that there should be public funding of arts and cultural activities in Scotland, up from 87% in 2015, but the funding available is already less than 0.2% of the total budget.
I am writing to ask you, therefore, to play your part in ensuring that we do not endanger the arts and culture for which Scotland is internationally famous, and which make a real difference to people’s lives across our country.