Culture

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What is the current Scottish Government funding to The Arts?

The current Scottish Government is fully committed to The Arts, however with cuts in the block grant from Westminster it can be assumed that there will be cuts in The Arts budget under the present funding arrangement, that is if we vote NO.

A breakdown of the current culture budget can be viewed here.

How will an independent Scotland encourage ‘The Arts’

The present Scottish Government has been and will continue to be supportive of The Arts.

“I have said before that it is not the Government’s job to tell artists what to paint or authors what to write or craftspeople what to fashion. Nor is it the Government’s job to tell people what art to see, what books to read or what crafts to buy. It is our job, however, to create the conditions which enable artists to flourish and as many people, groups and organisations as possible to benefit from and enjoy our culture and heritage”.

Fiona Hislop, Culture Secretary

The Scottish Government wants to see a culturally cosmopolitan Scotland, capable of attracting and retaining gifted people, where our creative community is supported and their contribution to the economy is maximised.

For more information on the Scottish Government’s Cultural policy go here.

Will the TV licence fee be abolished?

Not under current proposals, but taking into consideration that Scottish Broadcasting Service (SBS) programmes could be sold to other broadcasters, coupled with SBS getting 100% of Scottish TV licence fees, a reduction may be possible in the future.

Will the TV licence fee go up?

No. The existing licence fee would be inherited on independence and is sufficient to allow a high-quality SBS service on TV, radio and online.

Scotland’s culture secretary Fiona Hyslop insisted there would be no need for advertising to produce a high-quality service which would effectively replace BBC Scotland’s output.

She pointed out that of the £320 million million expected to be raised by the licence fee in Scotland in 2016-17, only £175 million was due to be spent north of the border.

She also committed the Scottish Government to honour all existing broadcasting licences, and said there would be no question that shows like Coronation Street or X-Factor would still be available for viewers in the event of a “yes” vote.

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What is the attitude of the present Scottish Government towards funding The Arts?

“This is a nation that truly values its creative talents and heritage. That’s why we have prioritised the funding for the National Performing Companies and maintained the international touring fund. That’s why we have also prioritised the funding for the grants administered by Historic Scotland. And, through our Expo Fund, that’s why we continue to support Edinburgh’s festivals and the development of new and exciting work which will be shared around the world. That’s why we are maintaining free access to Scotland’s national collections, including the refurbished National Museum of Scotland, which welcomed more than 2 million visitors in its first year of reopening.”

Fiona Hislop, Culture Secretary

Read more here.

What will happen to the BBC and the other TV channels?

The current Scottish Government intends to use BBC Scotland’s resources to build a dedicated Scottish Broadcasting Service funded by licence fee, set at the current BBC level. Older Scots will continue to receive their TV licence for free.

The existing BBC charter expires on 31 December 2016, and the SBS will begin broadcasting on TV, radio and online on 1 January 2017.

The SBS will work in partnership with the BBC so that viewers in Scotland will be able to watch the same range of BBC programmes, in addition to new Scottish programmes. We would, of course, be able to buy in programming from other broadcasters, including the BBC.

All existing TV channels will continue with their current operating licences and therefore we’ll still have STV, Channel 4 and Channel 5, as well as Freeview and any channels you watch through your satellite or cable service.

What will be the benefits of a new Scottish Broadcasting Service?

Scotland contributes approximately £230 million annually in license fees to the BBC. However, BBC Scotland has an annual budget of £120 million, an amount that, under current arrangements will be cut to £87 million in 2016/17. Scotland has 8.6% of the UK population but only receives 3.7 % of the BBC’s programme making expenditure.

Assuming the licence fee system remained in place, the Scottish Broadcasting Service would have an extra £143 million to spend on programming and buying in programmes than currently budgeted. Ireland buys in the entire BBC output for only £20 million.

Scotland would also be in a position to sell its programming to other broadcasters and retain the revenues.

What would happen to STV in an independent Scotland?

STV’s licence has been extended to 2025, and the current Scottish Government has been clear that existing licences will be honoured at the point of independence.

Viewers in the south of Scotland will continue to be served by ITV’s Borders franchise, but ITV will now be obliged to transmit different programming to the south of Scotland and the north of England so that viewers north of the border have the same access to news and current affairs coverage about Scotland as the rest of Scotland.

These arrangements will ensure that Scottish audiences can continue to access programming such as Coronation Street and X-Factor.