IN response to criticism of proposed cuts in arts funding announced by Moray Council – following a warning issued yesterday from the council that it is seeking to achieve £30 million in budget savings over the next three years – a council spokesperson said:
“The Moray Council engaged with a wide range of residents over a three-month period, via a plethora of platforms that allowed anyone who wished to an opportunity to get involved. This was heavily trailed in the local media and TV, and meetings/workshops reported upon throughout the period.
“Responses from the consultation showed support for the arts were at the bottom of people’s lists when it came to deciding what they could tolerate cutting.
“Thirty-three arts groups in Moray were emailed with details of the consultation, with dates and times and how they could take part. However, none responded directly from that email and as far as we can establish a maximum of four people representing arts groups attended workshops held as part of the consultation process.”
Says Moray Council leader, Councillor Allan Wright: “One would have to have been living in a bubble not to have noticed what was going on and the seriousness of the financial situation the council is in.
“The administration has taken the view, which we feel is supported by the general public locally through this consultation, that the council’s priorities must be care for the elderly, education and social services for the most vulnerable in our society.
“With the level of budget reduction we have to deliver -£30million – we are never going to please everybody; indeed, many will be upset at what services are being reduced or cut as a result of the budget we have to deliver.
“In terms of arts development in Moray however, we welcome the invitation from Creative Scotland to work with them and other agencies to help individual groups access funding for projects in Moray.”