Page last updated at 15:21 GMT, Wednesday, 3 September 2008 16:21 UK

Failed culture plans resurrected

Ballet dancers
The new body will function as a national agency for Scottish arts

Scottish ministers will press ahead with plans for a new national arts agency, despite the proposals having been thrown out of parliament.

Legislation to merge the Scottish Arts Council and Scottish Screen into Creative Scotland were voted down by MSPs before the summer recess.

The plan will be resurrected as part of a new public services bill.

Opposition parties criticised the move, and accused ministers of making a mess of the original legislation.

The Creative Scotland Bill had cross-party backing, but ministers lost the vote on the financial arrangements to make it happen after Labour complained it was misled over budget transfers.

The body will now begin life as a limited company, while a board of directors and chief executive, to be in place by April, will lead the final phase of transition.

'Stop dithering'

Creative Scotland is expected to become a statutory body by 2010.

The plans were announced as the Scottish Government outlined its latest legislative programme.

"I am 100% committed to establishing Creative Scotland to bring benefit to our arts and cultural sector as soon as possible," said Culture Minister Linda Fabiani.

"This approach has been used before and ensures no further delay."

But Labour culture spokesman Malcolm Chisholm claimed there would be a delay, adding: "The SNP made a mess of the bill and they should stop dithering and get on with establishing it."

The Tories' Ted Brocklebank said it was "deeply disappointing" the government abandoned attempts to implement the Creative Scotland Bill, while many of its functions were still undetermined.

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