THE Scottish Government has cautiously welcomed £8.6m of funding for Edinburgh’s festivals due to be announced in the UK Government’s spring budget on Wednesday.

However, a spokesman for the SNP-Green administration urged the Treasury to "engage in advance to ensure all public funding – Scottish and UK – was aligned to deliver maximum support for the sector which is facing considerable financial challenges."

It is understood the funding could go towards a permanent base for the Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society. The organisation, which administers the world's largest arts festival, is currently based on two buildings on the capital's High Street and moves to one of the university buildings during the August festival.


Announcing the funding, Chancellor Jeremy Hunt said: “From Edinburgh’s Fringe to the International Festival, the city is world-famous for culture and it’s right to support it and help it grow.

“Millions of people flock to Edinburgh from all over the globe for its festivals, creating opportunities for incredible comedians, musicians, artists and more, as well as thousands of jobs each year – all contributing immensely to the UK’s shared economy.”

Scottish Secretary Alister Jack said: “This is fantastic news for Scotland. Our vibrant arts sector – with the Edinburgh Festivals at its heart – is rightly renowned internationally and makes a huge contribution to our economy and cultural landscape.

“The UK Government has consistently championed the sector, including with £97m of Covid support, and £10m for the Dunard Centre, Edinburgh’s first dedicated new space for music and the performing arts in 100 years.

“Edinburgh is a global centre for the arts and this funding will help the Festivals continue to thrive and grow for many years to come.”

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UK Culture Secretary Lucy Frazer said: “Countless stars get their big break at Edinburgh Festivals and this funding will help us safeguard a future where upcoming British talent can capitalise on the opportunities on offer.

“Edinburgh is at the heart of our international position as a world leader in the creative. sectors and I’m delighted that we can help the festivals grow and thrive.”

A Scottish Government spokesman said: “Edinburgh Festivals continue to be one of Scotland’s world-leading cultural brands and the Scottish Government will continue to do all we can to support the festival and wider culture sector.

“Scottish ministers have been urging the UK Government to recognise the valuable role Scotland’s culture sector plays to the Scottish and UK economy and so any additional funding from the Spring Budget would be welcome.

“The Scottish Government is awaiting further details from the UK Government.

“Given culture is devolved, ministers would be disappointed if the UK Government did not engage in advance to ensure all public funding – Scottish and UK – was aligned to deliver maximum support for the sector which is facing considerable financial challenges as a result of UK inflation, Brexit and the ongoing impacts from the Covid pandemic."