Cultural Activities (Deprived Communities)

Europe, External Affairs and Culture – in the Scottish Parliament at 2:15 pm on 22nd May 2008.

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Photo of Margaret Curran Margaret Curran Labour 2:15 pm, 22nd May 2008

To ask the Scottish Executive what resources are available to deprived communities for cultural activities. (S3O-3432)

Photo of Linda Fabiani Linda Fabiani Scottish National Party

The Scottish Government is committed to widening access to culture for everyone in Scotland, including those who live in our most deprived communities. Several initiatives are being supported that relate to that commitment.

For example, our match-funded cultural pathfinder programme targets communities that tend not to take part in culture and includes projects in areas of multiple deprivation. The fairer Scotland fund and the cashback for communities arts and business match fund represent substantial potential resources for those seeking to use the arts in working together to tackle deprivation and poverty. Local authorities also make a substantial contribution, and the Scottish Government is working in partnership with local government to advance the agenda to widen cultural access for all communities in Scotland.

Photo of Margaret Curran Margaret Curran Labour

The minister will be aware that James McAvoy recently drew attention to the importance of the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama in providing drama courses of the highest quality, which he emphasised was particularly important for young people from deprived backgrounds. She has dropped cultural co-ordinators, who assist the most excluded, and she says that the Government listens to experts and expertise. I ask her to listen to James McAvoy and others who have called for direct intervention in the RSAMD to ensure that the opportunity that it offers young people in Scotland continues to exist.

Photo of Linda Fabiani Linda Fabiani Scottish National Party

I draw members' attention to another thing that Mr James McAvoy mentioned: the 16 years of chronic underfunding of RSAMD drama courses. Fiona Hyslop, as Cabinet Secretary for Education and Lifelong Learning, has taken firm action this week in relation to that. Under her settlement, she has already issued more money to the RSAMD than was previously issued, and discussions with the RSAMD and the Scottish Further and Higher Education Funding Council are on-going.