THE danger of cultural "carnage" due to the sharp decline in National Lottery cash for the arts has been averted due to extra "lifeline" funds for Creative Scotland.

The Scottish Budget saw a significant rise in financial support for the body, which supports the nation's main theatre, dance, music, and artistic companies, in an attempt to mitigate the ongoing drop in funds from the lottery.

Fiona Hyslop, the culture secretary, said the Scottish Government had been "working relentlessly" to try and limit the impact of the slide in lottery cash.

The budget shows that Creative Scotland's funding, as well as 'other arts', will rise from £52.1m to £70.5m, which includes the £10m for the new film unit.

It also includes an additional £6.6 million in each of the next three years to enable continued support for the Regular Funded Programme "in light of significant UK Lottery cuts".

The rise was described as a "lifeline" last night and Ruth Wishart, a prominent cultural commentator, said: "Many of Scotland's bedrock arts organisations...will slkeep a little easier tonight."

Creative Scotland's own grant-in-aid rises in 2018/19 to £38.9m, a 21.2% increase on this year's £32m.

Of this increase, £6.6m is designed to support arts organisations on regular funding.

Janet Archer, chief executive of Creative Scotland, said: "The increase in culture spending...underlines the Scottish Government's commitment to the pivotal role that culture and creativity plays in people's lives.

"This is particularly welcome in the context of declining income from the National Lottery."

However, spending on the national collections - the national galleries, library and museums - drops from £77m to £73.4m.

The national performing companies - the National Theatre of Scotland, the Royal Scottish National Orchestra (RSNO), Scottish Opera, Scottish Ballet and the Scottish Chamber Orchestra - see their collective funding stand still at £22.9m.

Overall, the spend on what the Scottish Government defines as culture rises 10 per cent to £166.8m.

Last month the interim chair of Creative Scotland, Ben Thomson, wrote to Karen Bradley, the UK Culture Secretary, warning of severe damage to the culture sector if there were further declines in lottery money.

Ruth Wishart, the journalist and board of Creative Scotland, wrote in the Sunday Herald that a funding scenario presented to the board would have been "cultural carnage".

She noted that the slide in lottery money - from £40m in 2012 to £26.9m in 2016 - was crucial to this bleak outcome.

Hyslop, the culture secretary, said: "We have been working relentlessly since early this year to mitigate the impact of the reduction in UK Lottery money.

"I am delighted we are able to step in and increase financial support for Creative Scotland and to provide £10 million for the new Screen Unit which will be set up in Creative Scotland.

“This budget confirms our commitment to expanding our international outlook as a Government for Scotland, creating solid links with other countries. We will be investing £1 million to enhance Scotland’s presence in Canada and support the delivery of an innovation and investment hub in Paris, as set out in the 2017 Programme for Government."

David Watt, chief executive of Arts and Business Scotland, said: "We strongly welcome the Scottish Government’s commitment of an additional £6.6m to Creative Scotland’s regular funding programme next year.

"It’s a real lifeline for Scotland’s cultural sector, helping to offset the recent downturn in Lottery funding and an important recognition of the crucial contribution culture makes to the wider economy in Scotland."

Seonaid Daly, director of the Scottish Contemporary Art Network, said: "We are delighted that Scottish Government seems to be listening to the cultural sectors' concerns and we really welcome this commitment.

"We will have to wait and see how it will play out at Creative Scotland,

"In particular, how they will balance core support for organisations asnd those relying on project grants which very much at risk from ongoing lottery reductions."

The government said that the budget "supports free access to the National Library of Scotland, National Galleries of Scotland and National Museums Scotland."

It also re-iterates its desire to create a new Culture Strategy.

This will "enable everyone to have the opportunity to take part in, or contribute to, cultural life in Scotland."

Consultation with the arts world and with the public have already begun on the strategy, which at present has no delivery date.