Scotland cuts Edinburgh Fringe funding

The Edinburgh Fringe, the world’s biggest arts festival, has expressed its dismay at losing all of its government £70,000 a year subsidy in Creative Scotland’s three year budget announced today.

“On behalf of the many thousands of artists, producers, venues and companies that make up the Fringe family, we are extremely disappointed not to be included in Creative Scotland’s Regular Funding Programme 2018-21” said Shona McCarthy, CEO of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society. “For over 70 years, the Fringe has nurtured, encouraged, and developed artists from all walks of life, at all stages of their career and from all over the world, to take risks and excel on an international stage.

“As the world’s greatest platform for creative freedom, the Fringe showcases the very best of Scottish and international culture, making the arts as accessible as possible to an audience of millions. The Fringe generates over £170m a year for the Scottish economy but receives less than 5% of its funding from the public sector.”

The cut comes at a difficult time for the Fringe as well as Edinburgh’s international festival and the book festival, with corporate support and individual giving falling away.

Although Creative Scotland had an increase in its budget from the Scottish governmenti n December, the international festival and King’s Theatre in the city, as well as Glasgow’s Transmission gallery, have also been cut from Creative Scotland’s £99m budget, but there are also 19 new arts organsations added to the portfolio.

Janet Archer, Creative Scotland’s CEO, said it had received more applications for its funds than it could support, and that despite a budget boost still had to make funding decisions within a standstill budget.

"Regular funding is just part of the bigger mix, part of a bigger picture and other income streams come from local authorities, from trusts and foundations, from philanthropic giving, from donations, and from earned income” she said.

"Regular Funding is 24% of the total turnover of the organisations that we are funding. We want to work with all the organisations that we aren't funding in other ways. We hope to maintain relationships and we do have other routes to funding and they will be able to apply to those."

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