Scottish Arts Council Scraps Block Grants to Scottish Publishers

May 6, 2008

The Scottish Arts Council has axed grants to several Scottish publishers worth around £100,000. Publishers have been informed they need not apply for any of the “block grants”, in a controversial move that has brought widespread dismay within the industry.

The announcement will affect small and well-established companies alike, such as Polygon and Luath Press.

However, grant funding for individual books has been increased by £40,000, nut critics have argued that by cutting the block grants, it will make it much tougher for publishers to plan and invest.

The cuts prompted Hugh Andrew, chief executive of the Birlinn/Polygon group, to call for an examination of arts council spending.

“Block grants help publish work like new Scottish fiction,” said Andrew. “It’s getting to the stage where we have to have a root-and-branch examination of where our money is going. It seems the amount of money given to bureaucrats and quangoes is increasing at the expense of those on the front line.”

He questioned why Publishing Scotland, the organisation which works for the “support and development” of the sector, received about £200,000 in annual funding, twice the block-grant fund.

A spokeswoman for the Scottish Arts Council confirmed that the block grant fund has gone from £100,000 to nothing, and that it had been “suspended temporarily for this financial year”.

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Colin Galbraith writes articles and reviews on a wide variety of subjects. For more information please visit: http://freelance.colingalbraith.co.uk


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