Scottish Culture Secretary Angus Robertson has confirmed the culture and major events sector will be supported through a £65m (€77.6m/$87.7m) financial package, amid current COVID-19 restrictions in Scotland.
The events sector is set to receive £19.8m while cultural businesses, organisations, venues and grassroots venues, along with independent cinemas, will be given £31.5m. National performing companies that suffered losses over the Christmas period will obtain £2m and museums, while galleries and heritage trusts will secure £1.7m in funding. Freelancers in impacted creative sectors will also be propped up by a £10m boost.
Robertson said: “The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic is once again causing disruption and uncertainty in the culture and events sector, who have already been hit so hard by its impact.
“We have been engaging with the sector about the impact of the Omicron variant and we are fully committed to supporting culture and events while they recover from the impact of COVID – and we are aware of just how important they are to Scotland, and indeed the wider recovery from this pandemic.”
He added: “These additional funds will help protect the livelihoods of the people working in the sector – and allow us to give further support to freelancers, culture organisations, venues and our national performing companies.”
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon originally announced that £20m would be offered in support for culture and events on December 14, with the extra £27m in funding for culture and £17m for events being announced last week. The additional £1m underspend from the existing events budget boosts the total funding package to £65m.
Iain Munro, Creative Scotland chief executive, said: “We are very grateful for this significant increase in emergency funding from the Scottish Government which reflects the severity of the challenges being faced by Scotland’s culture sector.
“Our Cancellation Fund for Creative Freelancers is live, with applications open from 6 January, and more information on support for organisations and venues will follow as soon as possible.”
VisitScotland director of events Paul Bush added: “The Scottish Government’s commitment of £19.8m for Scotland’s events sector is welcome news as the industry continues to deal with the latest challenges presented by the pandemic and the Omicron variant.
“EventScotland is currently working with the Scottish Government and the Event Industry Advisory Group (EIAG) to determine the best way of distributing the funding to ensure we get support to those in need across the sector, and details on this will be shared shortly.”
The current restrictions in Scotland came into force on Boxing Day with limits on events and night clubs closing for a minimum of three weeks. Up to 100 people are allowed at indoor standing events, 200 people at indoor seated events and up to 500 people, seated or standing, at outdoor events.
Many Hogmanay events, including large-scale celebrations in Edinburgh, were forced to cancel.