Scottish Draft Budget 2022-2023, overview

BEFS Director gives an overview of place and the historic environment in the draft Scottish Budget.

The Scottish Government published its draft Budget 2022-2023  on 9th December with details on the funding across all portfolios, including that of Historic Environment Scotland within the Economy, Fair Work and Culture portfolio.

We are living in very different times, and budget considerations (and portfolio alignments) have altered significantly over recent years – with covid restrictions, the associated health implications, as well as wider net zero aims and potential societal shifts (accelerated due to covid) to be considered by those examining the fiscal position for Scotland.

This overview highlights a few headline figures which may be of interest across the breadth of the existing built environment but, we suggest that all those with a detailed interest explore the document in full before drawing any more detailed conclusions.

Historic Environment Scotland (HES): the budget helpfully includes a meaningful reference to the contribution our historic environment plays in relation to Net Zero.  “We will continue to promote access to our historic environment, and high-quality places and buildings to support communities contributing principally to the culture, and also Net Zero, national outcomes.”  (p94)

The total operational costs forecast for HES in 2022-23 is £96.9 million, an increase of just under 6% on the previous year’s budget. The budget forecasts an income generation of £33.3M which at this point in time (and the budget was released just as Omicron concerns increased) could seem anything from ambitious, to woefully understated. It is of note that the HES Annual Report for 2020-2021 states their commercial income was £ 8.2M (p7) – an 87% reduction on 2019-2020. The significant change in income due to covid remains an ongoing concern. Therefore, whilst there is a significant increase in Government funding to HES (up around 25% on 2021-2022 – from £55.9M to £70.1M) this should be seen as a pragmatic measure reflecting the state of tourism, hospitality, and ongoing restrictions, rather than a windfall.

In line with last year, but unlike previous years, the budget makes no comment on HES’ role as a grant funder. Prior to the 2021-2022 Budget, the Scottish Government had detailed around £14.5M grant funding annually through HES for more than a decade. The importance of these grants across the sector cannot be emphasised enough; with HES one of the few funders able to fund both organisations as well as building fabric. Sector stability, and the community impact of organisations and projects working with Scottish Government funding, through HES’ dispersal of these grants, positively impacts our people, and our places, across the breadth of Scotland.

Further draft budget figures across culture and the built environment have been compiled in a table below.

A significant increase is seen for Creative Scotland & Other Arts, and the Major Events & Themed Years budget increases as could be expected when considering the challenges across this part of the sector over the past 20 months. For further detailed comment in relation to cultural spend, please see the analysis from Culture Counts, which can be found here.

The Planning Budget’s increase on 2021-2022 figures seems disappointing in the face of the Planning Act implementation, and the ongoing work in relation to the National Planning Framework 4. Further comment on this can be found from the RTPI, in their budget response statement.  The reduction in the Planning & Environmental Appeals Budget (p54) (from £0.7M to £0.6M) is also a concern which I hope reflects genuine efficiencies, rather than reductions in capacity.

A reduction in the Registers of Scotland budget also suggests that access to data (such as through ScotLIS) will not be taking the necessary steps forward in the timeframes many of us would advocate. Without access to data about our existing housing stock, delivering net zero will be an almost impossible task.

However, the increase in Cities & Investment Strategy is a positive sign if applied meaningfully across Scotland’s places. This increase is perhaps balanced with a reduction in City Region and Growth Deals in Local Authority budgets, reducing from the £11.2M last year to £7.2M this year (remaining at almost double the 2020-2021Budget). As well as a reduction in the Regeneration Budget from £111.6M last year, to £96.4M for 2022-2023 (albeit still more than double 2020-2021 figure).

Tourism Spending Plans – return to similar levels to 2020-2021; not perhaps reflecting a sudden resurgence in the tourism market, but a more pragmatic reflection of where else funds need to be invested.

Within the Local Government Funding outwith Core Settlement (p48) we can see that the Home Energy Efficiency Programmes for Scotland (HEEPS) has a significant increase. However, the Vacant & Derelict Land programme remains at £5M.

When considering net-zero, the Climate Action & Just Transition fund see a substantial increase from £29.8M last year, to £49.1 in this budget.

With so much still unclear as a further wave of Covid variant increases restrictions, and curtails personal and economic activity – how this budget can rebuild communities, support our existing places, and deliver net zero is a question on which we may have to wait some time for the answer.

2019-20 Budget 2020-21 Budget 2021-22 Budget 2022-2023 Budget
£m £m £m £m
Architecture and Place 1.4 1.4 1.5 1.5
Building Standards 0.9 2 16.7 11.8
Planning 6.5 8.3 11.5 13.7
Planning and Environmental Appeals 0.7 0.7 0.7 0.6
More Homes 788.7 896.1 748.1 744.3
Fuel Poverty/Energy Efficiency 119.6 135.2 187.7 194.3
Cities & Investment Strategy 205.6 209.8 233.2
Regeneration 42.3 47.4 111.6 96.4
Vacant and Derelict Land Grant 11.4 7.6 7.6 7.6
Creative Scotland and Other Arts 66 67.3 63.2 69.3
Cultural Collections 74.6 79.2 75.7 90
Major Events and Themed Years 16.8 6.6 8.2 18.2
Culture and Major Events Staffing 4.3 4.4 4.7 5.1
National Performing Companies 22.9 22.9 22.9 22.9
National Parks 13.4 13.9 17.5 18.5
Natural Resources, Peatland and Flooding 4.6 29.7 44.1 56.4
Scottish Environmental Protection Agency 34.4 37.1 43.5 41.4
NatureScot 46.5 49.1 50.2 49.6
Zero Waste 20.5 16.5 40.2 43.4
Land Reform 15.6 15 14.9 12.3
Tourism 50.6 65.1 51.2
Climate Acton & Just Transition 28.7 29.8 49.1
Scottish Land Commission 1.5 1.5 1.5 1.6
City Region and Growth Deals 3.8 11.2 7.2
Clyde Gateway Urban Regeneration Company 5 5 5
Capital Land and Works 22 22 18.9
City Region and Growth Deals 201 198.1 226
Home Energy Efficiency Programmes for Scotland (HEEPS) 55 58 64
Regeneration Capital Grant Fund 25 25 25
Vacant and Derelict Land Investment Programme 5 5
Place Based Investment Programme (was Place, Town Centres and 20 Minute Neighbourhoods) 23 33