Page last updated at 10:39 GMT, Monday, 2 June 2008 11:39 UK

MSPs criticise culture body plan

Scottish Opera production of A Night at the Chinese Opera [Pic: Richard Campbell]
The government hopes the Bill will boost promotion of the arts

A Holyrood committee has criticised Scottish Government plans for a new national cultural body.

MSPs warned the plan to merge the Scottish Arts Council and Scottish Screen into Creative Scotland lacked "clarity" and could cause confusion.

The criticism came from Holyrood's education, lifelong learning, culture and sport committee.

The government hopes the merger will promote "understanding, appreciation and enjoyment" of the arts.

But the committee said evidence given by witnesses had revealed "concern" over the detail of the legislation.

Holyrood's finance committee has already criticised the Creative Scotland Bill for being vague on financial details.

The education committee echoed that criticism and made several more.

It endorsed the general principles of the plan but said it lacked clarity in key areas and needed to be heavily amended to sharpen its focus.

The evidence received by the committee showed a high degree of concern surrounding the detail of the Bill
Karen Whitefield MSP
Education committee convenor

Labour MSP Karen Whitefield, convener of the committee, said: "Without further clarification of Creative Scotland's priorities, the Bill's goals of developing and stimulating the creative economy and widening access to culture could overlap, compete and confuse the organisations with whom it will work.

"The evidence received by the committee showed a high degree of concern surrounding the detail of the Bill."

The plans for shaking up Scotland's cultural quangos date back to the previous administration which proposed legislation for a series of measures to boost the arts.

The incoming SNP administration decided to go ahead with only part of the package, which would merge Scottish Screen and the arts council.

But the education committee's report is critical of the limited scope of the Bill, saying: "The committee is concerned that the measures included in the Bill do not match the rhetoric of the Scottish Government."

Witnesses who gave evidence to the MSPs, including artists, voiced "concern and disappointment" at a lack of detail on the role and functions of Creative Scotland.

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