SCOTLAND could face “cultural carnage” when arts budgets are slashed next month, a board member at government quango Creative Scotland has warned.

Ruth Wishart fears some groups could “go to the wall” and other leading figures in the arts have criticised Creative Scotland for delaying its decision on which organisations face a cut.

The quango insists its hands are tied by the Scottish Government, which won’t set its budget until next month. It is dealing with declining lottery funding, which makes up 18 per cent of its Regular Funding budget.

Among 118 Regularly Funded Organisations (RFOs) are some of the biggest names in Scottish culture, including the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, the Glasgow Film Theatre, the Citizen's Theatre, the Royal Lyceum Theatre and the Edinburgh International Festival.

Their three-year funding is nearing an end and Creative Scotland will announce the outcome of the current application process for Regular Funding 2018-21 by the end of January 2018.

Wishart said the board of the arts body was given a presentation last week by senior staff about impending cuts and the “worst case scenario could best be described as cultural carnage”.

She added: “A whole swathe of our artistic community [would be] unable to be funded, many of whom would inevitably go to the wall as a result.”

Andy Arnold , Artistic Director and Joint Chief Executive at the Tron Theatre in Glasgow, said “every organisation is extremely nervous”.

“The potential scenario is redundancies and some theatre companies that we have booked will not be operating in the next financial year,” he warned. “The fact we won’t find out until two months before the financial year starts makes things very difficult."

Seionaid Daly, director of the Scottish Contemporary Art Network (SCAN) said there will be a considerable knock-on effect when cuts are finally announced.

“It's not just that organisations will close,” she said. “In the case of the visual arts that means free to enter public spaces will close, workshops and programmes that bring diverse audiences together will cease and essential paid opportunities for Scotland's artists will completely dry up.

“Artists and cultural workers are already scraping by on very low pay with the majority of artists earning only £5,000 per year from their practice and average annual incomes for all workers around £14,000. Artists will either give up, or leave and find opportunities elsewhere.”

Director at the Federation of Scottish Theatre, Jude Henderson, said the Scottish Government’s flagship cultural investments demonstrate that funds are available but “these big, one-off announcements cannot be at the expense of the continued erosion of the funds that help arts and cultural practitioners to continue to live and work in Scotland”.

Henderson said Creative Scotland’s budget has dropped by more than a third in real terms since 2010.

Iain Munro, Deputy Chief Executive at Creative Scotland, said: “In addition to continued pressure on Scottish Government budgets we are also experiencing declining income from the National Lottery, which funds 18 per cent of the Regular Funding budget.

“Given the sharp decline in income that we are experiencing, it is unrealistic to allocate funds in a similar way in future,” he added. “With this in mind, the overall budget available to support Regular Funding 2018-21 will be even more challenging than at first anticipated.”

A Scottish Government spokeswoman said a letter has been sent to the UK Government – which has responsibility for the National Lottery – setting out concerns about “the potential impact of reductions in receipts from the lottery on arts and sports organisations”, adding that the draft budget plans till be submitted to parliament on December 14.