A REVAMP has been ordered into how Scotland’s artists are funded after Creative Scotland was forced into a series of major U-turns on budget cuts to the theatre, disabled arts and music groups.

The national art funding body is to examine its funding process following a reversal of a series of controversial decisions which had caused outrage in the cultural world.

Creative Scotland has backtracked on cuts announced 10 days ago and said Birds of Paradise, Catherine Wheels, the Dunedin Consort, Lung Ha and Visible Fictions will now be given three-year funding deals.

The current funding system has been deemed “extremely challenging” for both artists and the body, and is to change by 2020.

An emergency board meeting decided to reverse the funding cuts, and the board also decided to reverse a cut to theatre company Stellar Quines, which is returned to a standstill grant.

The £2.6m required for the funding reversal is to be found from ‘targeted funds’, a pot of money which Creative Scotland set aside for specific tasks.

This could mean money taken from the traditional and Gaelic arts, money for its Arts Strategy, cross-border touring or literature translation.

Targeted funds for the Youth Music Initiative, Cashback for Creativity, and for the screen industries will not be used, a spokesman said.

There is no change to the decisions regarding the 116 organisations receiving regular funding announced in January.

The proposed Touring Fund, which two weeks ago Creative Scotland said was a pillar of the new arrangements, is to continue but will be ‘revisited’, and it is likely to be less than the £2m it was to be given.

After the original funding decisions were announced, there was outrage that touring theatre companies, and those that work with and for the disabled, had lost out, as well as growing unease over the cuts to classical music groups.

A series of open letters, signed by hundreds in the arts world, protested against the decisions.

Last week two board members, Ruth Wishart and Maggie Kinloch, resigned over the furore.

A spokesman for Creative Scotland said no personnel changes were expected at the body.

Ben Thomson, Interim Chair of Creative Scotland said: “Funding decisions of the scale and importance of Regular Funding (RFO) are always extremely challenging.

“We have listened to the extensive and constructive feedback we received from many individuals and organisations working across the arts and culture in Scotland.

“We have reviewed our budget for Regular Funding and, within the limits of the alternative funds available to us, we have been able to re-allocate £2.6m over three years, allowing us to include five further arts producing organisations in the network.

“We have also reaffirmed our commitment to other funding, which will include touring; equalities, diversity and inclusion; and new support for artist led work.”

He added: “I also appreciate that, even now, these decisions do not address all of the issues currently being raised by individual applicants. I am sorry that, in this process, some will be disappointed by our decisions.”

The RFO groups from 2018-21 now consists of 121 organisations receiving funding of £101,623,507 over the three-year period.

The additional £2.6m to support Regular Funding 2018-21 will be made up of £667,000 annually transferred from the targeted budget and savings from the transition funds which were to go to the companies that lost out.

Fiona Hyslop, the culture secretary, said: “Decisions on funding are taken by Creative Scotland and Ministers have no role in this process. “This government recognises the role that culture and creativity plays in people’s lives across Scotland, which is why our Budget includes an increase in culture funding of almost 10 per cent.

“I am pleased Creative Scotland has listened to the concerns of stakeholders and has reviewed the decisions.”

A statement from Catherine Wheels, which is based at the Brunton Theatre in Musselburgh, said: “The staff and board are hugely relieved by Creative Scotland’s decision to reinstate the company’s regular funding.

“To our friends, supporters and colleagues close to home and around the world who wrote with such passion and persistence to Creative Scotland and voiced their support online, we cannot thank you enough.

“We remain extremely concerned about the original funding decisions. We will work with the sector to ensure we are all central in the continuing discussion about the way the arts is funded in Scotland.”