Glasgow MSP calls for rates relief for city centre institutions facing ‘cliff edge’

A Glasgow MSP has called on the Scottish Government to offer rates relief to culture and heritage institutions in Glasgow city centre.

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Conservative MSP Annie Wells asked the Scottish Government what support it is offering to help the revival of such organisations, following the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Culture minister Neil Gray said that the Scottish Government had announced over £265m of support to the culture, creative, heritage and events sector, including a £28m fund to support cultural organisations as a result of the Omicron restrictions.

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He added: “Three Glasgow-based culture and heritage organisations received funding under Historic Environment Scotland’s Historic Environment Recovery Fund, totalling £88,900, and the Scottish Government has contributed over £7.5m to the refurbishment of the Burrell Collection.

“Discussions are ongoing regarding the Scottish Government’s support towards the refurbishment of the Citizen’s Theatre as well.”

The next phase of the Glasgow city centre project is due to start next year.

Ms Wells said that culture and heritage institutions will play a “vital” role in attracting people back into Glasgow city centre.

She added: “However, like many other organisations, they face a business rates cliff edge at the end of June. Will the Scottish Government therefore consider strategic use of rates relief to support these institutions, as has been called for by many a number of leading arts organisations?”

Mr Gray said the the Scottish Government has already funded “the most competitive rates regime in the UK”, adding: “It’s gone over and above the UK’s scheme in providing support to our businesses and rate payers across Scotland.”

He called on Ms Wells to put forward a proposal, saying “he’d be happy to hear it”.