A senior Dundee councillor has called for greater investment in the city’s cultural attractions.
Leisure and Culture Dundee (LACD), which operates McManus Galleries and the city’s libraries, is having to make £850,000 of savings this year.
Dundee City Council has reduced the amount of money it provides to organisations like Dundee Rep and DCA to help with their running costs.
Labour group leader Kevin Keenan said: “I have concerns Dundee City Council didn’t build into the budget the cost pressures we are hearing about.
“The advice we got from officers was LACD were getting about £250,000 that should cover the wage increase in the local government settlement of 3% this year and 3% next year.
“Then we hear about £850,000 of cuts and potential job losses as staff are not replaced.
“It is an arms length organisation but if there is an £850,000 shortfall is really reflects just how much we were short-changed by the Scottish Government.
“Dundee hasn’t been overly successful in attracting manufacturing jobs.
“Culture is supposed to be a good investment in terms of GDP but we are cutting £850,000 from Leisure and Culture and Dundee while the budgets for the Rep and DCA were slashed.
“I am afraid we are damaging that with the cuts to our cultural offering.”
Dundee City Council leader John Alexander said the need for groups to make savings was largely down to increasing cost pressures and funding from the local authority only accounts for a fraction of the running costs of the Rep or DCA.
He said: “I’ve personally sat down with every single one of our cultural organisations and Leisure & Culture Dundee, spoken to them directly and the council is working very closely and supporting them with nearly £8 million of funding so they can continue to thrive.
“Leisure & Culture currently receives circa £7 million directly but Councillor Keenan is conveniently forgetting that we have also provided new additional funding of £5 million for LACD to create new ventures that generate more income.
“The overall savings to our other cultural organisations was £60,471 against continued funding of £1.01 million but importantly, we also provide other support in addition to promoting these venues as part of the city’s offering.
“It’s also important to remember the huge investment and positive impact of the V&A, with a six-figure sum of support which Councillor Keenan deliberately hasn’t mentioned.
“It’s incorrect to say that we’ve not invested in culture when, clearly, the opposite is true. The result of our investments is that our cultural organisations are all seeing huge increases in visitor numbers and therefore increases in income and means they can be less reliant upon council funding.
“Increasing the income generated means that these organisations can not only offset the small reduction but hopefully increase their budgets.”