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Parliamentary debates and questions

S5W-13740: Sandra White (Glasgow Kelvin)

Scottish National Party

Date lodged: 10 January 2018

To ask the Scottish Government what its position is on the comment in The Scotsman on 31 December 2017 by the artistic director of the Celtic Connections festival that, (a) because of Brexit, (i) many international artists feel unwelcome in the UK because the country now appears "less internationalist in outlook", (ii) new entry visa requirements "would be a big logistical nightmare and financial headache" for the festival and (iii) the impact on the festival's buying power because of the fall in the value in the pound has led to a 20% reduction in the number of overseas artists attending the festival and (b) without EU-funding, "maybe a dozen shows a year in our programme" would not have happened.  

Answered by: Fiona Hyslop 18 January 2018

The Scottish Government confirms that any form of Brexit will cause serious damage to Scotland and that the UK leaving the single market and customs union would be damaging to Scotland. We agree that ending free movement of people will have a negative impact on individuals, families and our economy and society as a whole.

We strongly advocate that Scotland is, and continues to be, an outward-looking, welcoming nation, which is underpinned by our world class international festivals. Freedom of movement within the EU enriches Scotland’s culture. It is important that artists from around the EU are able to bring their work to Scotland and EU citizens can travel freely to Scotland to experience our unique culture and world leading festivals. Scotland’s cultural and creative industries companies are able to recruit the talent and skills that they need from as wide a pool as possible.

We know that the UK’s current visa system already puts in place significant cost and administrative barriers to non-EU artists bringing their work to the festivals. Expanding those barriers to artists from the rest of the EU could have a devastating impact, on both the economic and the cultural impact of the festivals.

The Scottish Government agrees that EU funding programmes are hugely beneficial to the culture, creative industries and historic environment sectors in Scotland. Between 2007 and 2016, EU funds have directly supported these sectors with at least £59 million of funding, involving around 650 projects. Additionally, EU funding can have a multiplier effect by leveraging funding from other sources. Moreover, the non-financial benefits of participation in these funding streams is immeasurably significant, supporting the international exchange and collaboration which is the lifeblood of the culture sector, as well as central to supporting Scotland’s global reputation for cultural excellence.