Good News: Scotland’s cultural gap seems to be narrowing under SNP Government


Research by the Scottish government suggests that the cultural attendance gap between those living in more deprived areas and the rest of the population is narrowing.

According to the Scottish Household Survey:

‘Cultural attendance in Scotland is on its way to becoming more equitable, official research by the Scottish Government suggests. The gap in attendance between adults living in the 20% most deprived areas and the 20% least deprived has fallen to its lowest in five years, to 15 percentage points – down from 18 percentage points in 2012, and 21 percentage points in 2014. The trend holds even when cinema visits, the most popular form of cultural attendance for people across the country, are excluded.’

See this graph:


The report does not directly attribute causes for this improvement. However, we must credit the school system’s success in increasing the number of pupils leaving with higher qualifications. The latter will inevitably expose young people to aspects of culture and either with or without organised school visits, lead to higher levels of interest.

A possible second explanation for this change might also lie in Scotland’s increasing affluence in the last two decades of devolved government. Increased economic capital leads to the opportunities for families to help their children acquire the cultural capital (museum visits, online access etc) which will serve them well in higher education and in employment. See:

Institute for Fiscal Studies reveals Scotland to have become more affluent than every other part of the UK bar the South-East of England and that much (most?) of this improvement has come under the SNP

Thirdly, the government of the day gets the blame for anything negative so it must get some of the credit for this progress if only by having enhanced young Scots’ sense of their cultural  identity, around the referendum, by emancipating 16 year-olds, by promoting a Scots element in the History and English curricula and by having pushed all of these ideas into the forefront of mediated public debate to an extent not seen before.


8 thoughts on “Good News: Scotland’s cultural gap seems to be narrowing under SNP Government

  1. Alasdair Macdonald October 5, 2017 / 12:49 pm

    While I think the benign influence of schools is probably the major factor, I think another significant factor is the ‘reachout’ policies of organisations like Scottish Opera, Scottish Ballet, National Theatre of Scotland, Scottish National Orchestra and a number of others.


  2. Ludo Thierry October 5, 2017 / 2:49 pm

    Hi John, Hi Alasdair – rapid visit as swigging my cold coffee. – I suspect your point is a key feature Alasdair – A lot of these bodies have put in considerable effort to take their ‘wares’ to Scotland’s further flung airts – I really have been impressed by the efforts made.

    Noticed yesterday that Edinburgh had been named as ‘top cultural and creative city of its size’ by EU Commission:

    Edinburgh has been named as the top cultural and creative city of its size in a report by the European Commission. The Cultural and Creative Cities Monitor ranked the Scottish capital first among places with a population of 250,000 to 500,000.

    It came out on top of 36 others in its category, beating the likes of Florence and Bratislava.

    Cities were judged on their cultural vibrancy, creative economy and enabling environment.

    (Can’t help but wonder if Florence were knocked out of the running by playing host to St. Theresa the other week?)

    Off topic – but a wee further snippet of good news for Edinburgh re. its affordability as a location for businesses:

    Businesses could save a third by locating 100 staff in Edinburgh compared to London, according to analysis in Knight Frank’s 2018 Global Cities report.

    For the first time, Knight Frank has compared the total cost of employing 100 people in the world’s leading cities, based on the cost of workspace and average salaries.

    The independent property consultancy found the total cost of basing 100 staff in Edinburgh sat at £2.60 million ($3.47m) compared to £3.9m ($5.23m) in London – a total difference of £1.31m ($1.76m) or 33%.

    The finding makes Scotland’s capital one of Europe’s most competitive major business hubs in terms of cost, ahead of Dublin ($4.05m), Stockholm ($4m), Frankfurt ($3.81m), and Amsterdam ($3.52m).

    Thanks, Ludo (you’re still crediting me as a co-star on Masthead John – Not so – merely a Day Visitor who enjoys this ‘picture’ mightily!)

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Ludo Thierry October 5, 2017 / 8:32 pm

    Hi John – Indeed let’s hear it for Glasgow!!! – The Indy City is mighty pretty.

    (well – as a co-star I feel able to introduce the occasional cineaste’s reference) – Cheers, ludo

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Ludo Thierry October 5, 2017 / 8:36 pm

    Hi John – a wee quick snippet from the beeb welsh politics page:

    Former UKIP leadership hopeful John Rees-Evans has left the party to form a new political group called Affinity.

    Is there any truth in the rumour that David Coburn MEP is planning a similar move and calling his new party Profanity?

    Cheers, Ludo

    Liked by 1 person

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