SNP blasted over ‘petty’ letter after demanding body changes name for ‘mentioning UK’

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The Creative Industries Federation (CIF) is set to merge with Creative England with the new body set to be called Creative UK. The new organisation will represent businesses in the arts and creative sector across the country and will be funded by both public and private investment.

They aim to drive the creative power of the UK, open up opportunities throughout the sector, and strengthen the economy.

However, Scotland’s Economy Secretary Fiona Hyslop said she would be “concerned” by the new name of the organisation.

The Scottish Government Cabinet Secretary said in a letter to both organisations: “I was surprised to note your planned change of name to Creative UK.”

The SNP minister claimed the name change could conflict with Creative Scotland which is Scotland’s arts and creative industries development agency.

She also claimed it would encroach on a devolved competence as Arts and Culture is devolved to the Scottish Government.

She continued: “Both Creative Scotland and Screen Scotland are recognised domestically and internationally as the organisations that support and develop the arts, culture and creative industries in Scotland.

“I am concerned that the presence of an organisation called Creative UK will send conflicting messages.

“This is an area of devolved competence, and I am wary of anything that might lead to confusion about where the responsibility for these matters lies.

“I am particularly concerned that people seeking to invest in Scotland might assume that an organisation called Creative UK represents the whole of the UK, when the responsibility and expertise lies with Creative Scotland.”

Ms Hyslop added: “I understand both Creative England and the CIF retain their own separate identities.

“If this continues to be the case I see no reason why we cannot continue to work together with clear lines of responsibility and accountability between each of the four UK countries’ separate arts development bodies.

“It is of the utmost importance that we work together to ensure you do not accidentally stray into devolved territory or risk conflict with the remit and profile of Creative Scotland and Screen Scotland.”

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Last night, the Scottish Conservatives accused SNP ministers of being “petty”.

Maurice Golden MSP, the party’s culture spokesman, said: “Our cultural sector has been one of the most badly affected by the pandemic.

“We need both of Scotland’s Governments working together to protect jobs and livelihoods.

“Instead we have the Cabinet Secretary ramping up the Nationalist grievance machine because she cannot bear anything that mentions the UK.

“That sort of petty politics should be the last thing on anyone’s mind.”

It comes after tensions rose between the UK and Scottish Governments over the creation of a new Festival of Britain, a nationwide cultural festival being planned for 2022 to celebrate everything that makes the UK great.

The Scottish Government had raised concerns about certain references to “British” being included in material relating to the festival which slogan is for the “very best of modern Britain.”

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “Culture is a devolved responsibility and it is important the status of national arts development bodies remain clear and are not diluted or undermined by the creation of an organisation called Creative UK.

“The Scottish Government has provided over £140 million to support culture organisations – far more than the £97 million of Covid culture consequentials provided by the UK Government.

“Scotland is being held back by idiotic zealotry.”

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