Aberdeen Art Gallery (Funding)

– in the Scottish Parliament on 31st October 2019.

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Photo of Tom Mason Tom Mason Conservative

I remind colleagues that I am a councillor in the city of Aberdeen.

The First Minister has seen the transformative effect that the new V&A museum has had on the city of Dundee—a project that the Scottish Government rightly agreed to contribute to. However, when Aberdeen City Council applied for funding for the new Aberdeen art gallery, which opens tonight and has similar potential for the city of Aberdeen, that application was turned down. Will the First Minister look again at that decision, to ensure that Aberdeen gets its fair share and is able to benefit from a thriving artistic community?

Photo of Nicola Sturgeon Nicola Sturgeon Scottish National Party

I thank Tom Mason for raising the issue for two reasons. First, it gives me the opportunity to welcome the new Aberdeen art gallery, which is due to reopen on 2 November. I look forward to having the opportunity to visit it, and I am sure that it is an absolutely first-class attraction that will be a real credit to the city of Aberdeen.

However, it also gives me the opportunity to address a point that I understand was made at an event last night and has been repeated in the chamber by Tom Mason today.

To set the record straight, during the planning or business case stage, Aberdeen City Council made no approach to the Scottish Government, Historic Environment Scotland or Creative Scotland. Aberdeen City Council discussed funding with Historic Environment Scotland in 2016 after project works had already begun, but the council chose not to pursue an application for funding. It is a bit rich to criticise the Scottish Government for not giving funding when the council in question never asked us for funding. [