Orkney MSP Liam McArthur has blasted the Culture Secretary over ‘flimsy’ evidence to the Education and Culture Committee over a £150,000 of state aid granted to a profitable music festival.
Controversy has broken out as Culture secretary Fiona Hyslop approved a grant of £150,000 to the T in the Park music festival. Members of the Scottish Parliament Education Committee, including Orkney’s MSP Liam McArthur, have questioned why the popular event needed taxpayer funds.
During the committee evidence session today the Scottish Government Culture Secretary failed to address the substantive questions posed by committee members over why the DF concerts received state aid, what it was used for by the company and whether any of it went to the former SNP aide who brokered the deal.
Commenting after the evidence session, Orkney’s MSP said:
“The Culture Secretary’s flimsy evidence left committee members with more questions than it did answers.
“We are still no closer to understanding why a profitable company received state aid, or whether all other revenue streams were exhausted, including from the event’s key sponsor, before seeking £150,000 of public money from the Scottish Government.
“The Culture Secretary’s go-to argument that festivals are important to the economy misses the point. Of course they are important but so too is transparency in the way Ministers act when handing out significant sums of public money.
“That the Scottish Government deemed it appropriate to release more than 600 pages of mostly redacted documents the night before the evidence session will lead many people to judge that Ministers are treating parliament with contempt. The lack of any detail in those 600 pages and the Minister’s evidence today means that this issue will rumble on until parliament and the public get the answers they deserve”.