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Cultural Heritage: Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland Office written question – answered on 17th March 2020.

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Photo of Scott Benton Scott Benton Conservative, Blackpool South

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, what steps his Department is taking to (a) support and (b) promote the Ulster-Scots cultural heritage in communities throughout Northern Ireland.

Photo of Robin Walker Robin Walker The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Scotland, The Minister of State, Northern Ireland Office

The devolved administration in Northern Ireland is primarily responsible for supporting and promoting languages, including Ulster-Scots. The New Decade, New Approach agreement contains important commitments for the Northern Ireland Executive to progress on supporting and promoting Ulster-Scots language and culture.

In reserved areas, such as broadcasting, the Government is committed to supporting Ulster- Scots as appropriate, and has ensured that the BBC Framework Agreement includes a specific clause which provides a clear commitment for the BBC to continue to deliver output in Ulster- Scots, and provides funding for the Ulster-Scots Broadcasting Fund (USBF).

The Government has also itself committed, under the New Decade, New Approach agreement, to supporting discussions with NI Screen to explore how the remit of the Ulster USBF can be broadened, and will increase funding to reflect any broadened remit. The Government will also, under the New Decade, New Approach agreement, work to recognise Ulster-Scots as a national minority under the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities.

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