The Scottish Government’s reaction to an £8.6 million funding boost for the Edinburgh Festivals from UK Chancellor Jeremy Hunt is “typically miserable and grudging”, according to a Lothian Scottish Conservative MSP.
The chancellor is set to confirm the grant in today’s (Wednesday) Spring Budget, which will help finance a permanent base for the Fringe Society, as well as help the other August events like the tattoo and film festival.
While a Scottish Government spokeswoman said that any additional funding would be welcome, Scottish ministers should be consulted in advance.
Sue Webber MSP said; “It is typically miserable and grudging of the SNP Scottish Government that it can’t just wholeheartedly welcome such a fantastic boost for our festivals, but have to make it all about SNP ministers and their sensibilities.
“Giving the money straight to the festivals without going through the SNP means it gets to them quickly so it can have an immediate effect and be prioritised by those who know where it’s needed the most.
When asked about the funding, the spokeswoman told The Scotsman newspaper, “Given culture is devolved, ministers would be disappointed if the UK Government did not engage in advance to ensure all public funding – Scottish and UK – was aligned to deliver maximum support for the sector which is facing considerable financial challenges”.
Sue Webber added, “Culture is indeed devolved, but as the SNP has given Edinburgh Council the worst grant settlement in Scotland, it’s inevitable the festivals will suffer too. The SNP seems to expect the UK government will simply hand cash to them so they can decide where it goes and to claim any credit.
“Now Nicola Sturgeon is going, let’s hope these petty gripes will be a thing of the past.”