Only a few days to go: We’re raising £25,000 to keep TheyWorkForYou running and make sure people across the UK can hold their elected representatives to account.

Donate to our crowdfunder

Public Services Reform (Scotland) Bill

Part of the debate – in the Scottish Parliament at 4:24 pm on 25th March 2010.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Pauline McNeill Pauline McNeill Labour 4:24 pm, 25th March 2010

I will spend my three minutes talking about part 3, which will establish creative Scotland. After listening to this afternoon's debate, I stand by what I have said in previous debates: I would still prefer the creative Scotland provisions to be in a stand-alone bill. The rushed timings today and the fact that we cannot debate fully issues that I would like to be fleshed out more show me that two important subjects for debate should not be merged in one bill again.

However, we must celebrate the fact that we are finally here—or just about, if the motion to pass the bill is agreed to tonight—on the establishment of creative Scotland. I congratulate Andrew Dixon, who is the body's new chief executive, and I thank Ewan Brown, who has seen through the work of creative Scotland's shadow board in these difficult times. The time has also been difficult for artists, the Scottish Arts Council's staff and Scottish Screen, which have endured the delay in the passage of the bill, but at last it is here.

The new body, creative Scotland, will face the challenges for the arts sector in a recession. The arts are a crucial part of our economy and it is arguable, for reasons that I will go into in the short time that is available to me, that they can be an important aspect of economic recovery.

I would have preferred creative Scotland to have a lead co-ordinating role specified in the bill, but the Minister for Culture and External Affairs made it clear today that it will be the lead body for the arts and culture in Scotland in its co-ordinating role.

I am still disappointed that the budget that Scottish Enterprise holds has not been transferred to the new body, but I hope that that will happen in the future, because that will provide the most potential for growth, and I would like creative Scotland to have access to as many resources as possible, in order to nurture that growth as best it can.

We have not had much opportunity to talk in detail about what people expect from the new body. I will say something about Scottish Screen, which will be abolished from tonight, when we establish creative Scotland. I have always argued that it is a shame that we will lose the Scottish Screen branding. The then Minister for Culture, External Affairs and the Constitution told me, in response to a question, that the new branding will be that of creative Scotland and that we will lose the Scottish Screen branding. I ask the Minister for Culture and External Affairs to clarify whether the Scottish Screen branding can be kept under the banner of creative Scotland.

Scotland's investment in film raises issues. Northern Ireland has a studio that is receiving some business that Scotland is not receiving because Scotland has no such studio. It was also drawn to my attention more recently that the framework of our smoking ban prevents some historical dramas from being filmed in Scotland, because they have no exemption.