Malcolm supports the arts in regeneration areas
Question about the future of North Edinburgh Arts Centre Malcolm Chisholm (Edinburgh North and Leith) (Lab): Will the minister make support for the arts in regeneration areas one of her priorities for culture? In connection with that, will she read carefully a letter that was sent to her today by the North Edinburgh Arts Centre, which serves a regeneration area in my constituency and in that of Margaret Smith? In that letter, she will read of the funding difficulties that have suddenly arisen for that body and of a report that is to go to the City of Edinburgh Council from officials, recommending the withdrawal of funding. Will she prevail upon her SNP colleagues in the administration of the City of Edinburgh Council to reject the report and support that highly valued project? Will she also raise the matter with the Scottish Arts Council, which has also been approached for funding support?

The Minister for Europe, External Affairs and Culture (Linda Fabiani):

In answer to the first part of Mr Chisholm's question, I confirm that our agenda for widening access to culture and the arts incorporates particular types of projects in areas of disadvantage.

I have read with sympathy the letter from the North Edinburgh Arts Centre. It is always difficult for local groups. However, as I said to Paul Martin, until I know all the details about how a group has operated and about the funding package that is in place, I am unable to answer in detail. I have passed the letter on so that more information can come back to me. Nonetheless, I reiterate the fact that local authorities and the Scottish Arts Council do not work under the artistic direction of the Scottish Government.
September 13th 2007, (Column 1750)