Culture in an independent Scotland

Benefits for culture, events and creative sectors.

The culture and creative sectors of an independent Scotland would be enhanced by the establishment of a new Scottish public service broadcaster reflecting the needs and values of Scottish audiences, according to the latest Building a New Scotland paper published by Culture Secretary Angus Robertson.

The tenth paper in the series outlines how the Scottish Government would have the power to determine the list of events that should be available to broadcast free-to-air to reflect the interests of Scottish audiences, including some major sporting events.

It also sets out how re-joining the EU would help mitigate the impact of Brexit on the culture and creative sector’s ability to reach new audiences and generate income in a key export market.

The paper outlines how an independent Scottish Government could further protect, support and enhance Scotland’s culture and creative sectors by:

  • becoming members of multilateral conventions and agreements, organisations like Creative Europe and UNESCO
  • providing greater support to promote the creative sectors on the world stage and collaborating and cooperating on cultural initiatives with other nations
  • using its network of new embassies to promote Scottish culture globally. This would build on the current ‘Scotland House’ model, which fosters connectivity with international partners
  • building on the success of the festivals, ensuring they remain diverse, vibrant and international through supporting touring from international artists and creative professionals

Mr Robertson said:

“Our culture and creative sectors, such as music, video games and the screen sector, are a key part of Scotland’s economy, not just in their own right but also as a driver of other sectors such as tourism and hospitality. Our creative industries already make an important contribution to our economy but as an independent country, Scotland’s rich and diverse culture would help our economy to thrive.

“Independence means that broadcasting decisions that impact Scottish audiences and our creative industries would be determined by the Scottish public through the Scottish Parliament. For example, decisions about what large-scale sporting events should be made available to broadcast free-to-air, such as international football qualifiers. A new public service broadcaster would prioritise content and services that are more representative of diverse audiences in Scotland, enhancing local voices and coverage of community issues.

“Brexit and the removal of free movement has had a major impact on Scotland’s cultural and creative sectors by limiting access to the people, talent and skills the sector needs. The increased costs and administrative burdens have also meant that working in the EU is now beyond the reach of many of Scotland’s artists, damaging their ability to reach new audiences and generate income. Independence and Scotland becoming a full member state within the EU is the only way for artists and creatives to regain the vast benefits of EU membership, including freedom of movement.”


Building a New Scotland: Culture in an independent Scotland

It is the tenth paper in the Building a New Scotland series.

This new public service broadcaster could expand the current offer available on television, radio, and online, with tailored programming that is reflective of Scotland’s diverse audiences.

The list of free-to-air events could include national sporting events, such as Scotland’s men’s and women’s football qualifiers for the World Cup and European Championships.

As a member of the European Union, an independent Scotland would benefit from freedom of movement allowing artists and creative professionals from the EU to come to Scotland more easily and remove barriers, like visas and customs requirements, for Scottish artists touring in the EU.

The Scottish Government would also have the power to engage with partners across the UK and beyond to explore continued access to programmes that matter to Scottish audiences, as well as enhance Scotland’s voice on the world stage through global forums like Eurovision.

The First Minister announced in October 2023 that the Scottish Government will invest at least £100 million more annually in culture and the arts by the financial year 2028/29. To support this aim, funding to the culture sector will increase by £15.8 million next financial year to £196.6 million. In 2025/2026 the Scottish Government aims to provide an additional £25 million to the culture sector. This commitment to additional funding despite the challenging budget situation signals the Scottish Government’s support for the culture sector.


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