Culture Secretary has serious questions to answer

Scottish Liberal Democrat MSP Liam McArthur today said that the Culture Secretary has serious questions to answer as it emerged that the company at the heart of a row over £150,000 in state aid for T in the Park reported record pre-tax profits last year.

Accounts from DF Concerts showed a record pre-tax profit of £6.2 million in 2014. 

Emails released after a Freedom of Information request suggest that the Scottish Government had sight of the company accounts a month before the decision to grant DF Concerts £150,000 of taxpayers money was taken. Last week, the Culture Secretary repeatedly told a Scottish Parliament Committee that the festival had been under threat because shareholders had been concerned about the profitability of the event.

The Convenor of the Education and Culture Committee, which heard evidence from the Cabinet Secretary last week, will now write to Ms Hyslop seeking detailed answers to questions raised by Committee Members. Mr McArthur had previously led cross-party calls for her to provide further evidence to the Committee.

Commenting, Liam McArthur MSP said:

“At Committee last week the Culture Secretary told us in no uncertain terms that the state aid deal brokered by Alex Salmond’s former special advisor was agreed on the basis that there was a real risk of shareholders forcing T in the Park to leave Scotland.

“These company accounts call into question the extent of any such risk. We now know that SNP ministers, on the urging of a former SNP advisor, awarded £150,000 of taxpayer funding to a company which had generated record pre-tax profits the previous year.

“I am pleased that the Culture Committee will now write to the Culture Secretary seeking detailed answers to the serious questions that have been raised. We need to get to the bottom of this urgently.”

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