Arts and creative industries on the islands will see less cash from the council

Arts and creative industries organisations across the Western Isles are facing cuts in their grants from Comhairle nan Eilean Siar of up to 10 per cent for the coming year.

Thursday, 25th February 2021, 8:26 am
An Lanntair is one of several organisations who are set to see reduced grant funding

The matter was discussed at this week’s full council budget-setting meeting where councillors were trying to balance the books by making savings where possible.

An Lanntair, Taigh Chearsabhagh, the Hebridean Celtic Festival, Ceòlas, the Eilean Dorcha Festival and Fèisean nan Gàidheal, which includes seven Western Isles Fèisean will receive reduced levels of funding from the Comhairle’s economic development funding pot.

Support for Heb Celtic, Ceòlas and Fèisean nan Gàidheal from the Comhairle’s Sgioba na Gàidhlig Grant Fund will remain unchanged from the previous year, the meeting agreed.

The report which was before councillors proposing the funding settlements said that the organisations were “essential parts of the islands’ cultural heritage infrastructure” and concluded that they had successfully managed to deliver activities in terms of their 2020/21 funding agreement with the council "despite the severe restrictions due to the Covid-19 pandemic".

It was said the organisations deliver “significant social and economic impacts” in terms of the number of jobs supported, money which is recycled through the local economy, and through the 'levering-in' of additional new resources, the report added.

The funding for the organisations amounts to more than £90k from the Comhairle's Economic Development Investment budget and more than £15k from the Sgioba na Gàidhlig budget.

The grants were officially backed as part of the Comhairle's budget for the coming year as the authority looks to make savings of £2.3m in 2021/22 and £1.17m in the following year.

The Comhairle's budget for the coming year includes a freeze on council tax rates for the Western Isles, giving the authority the lowest council tax rates in Scotland.

An Lanntair, Taigh Chearsabhagh and Ceòlas were all approached for comment regarding the budget outcome, but at the time of going to press none had been received.