PPA Blog

The PPA meets Scottish Cabinet Secretary for Culture Angus Robertson MSP

By Sebastian Cuttill

5 Nov 2021

A meeting between Angus Robertson MSP, John Innes, Chair of PPA Scotland, and the PPA's Public Affairs Executive, Sebastian Cuttill took place this week to discuss the impacts of the pandemic on the media, the future of publishing, sustainability, and much more.

PPA Scotland Chair John Innes and PPA Public Affairs Executive Sebastian Cuttill met Scottish Cabinet Secretary for the Constitution, External Affairs and Culture Angus Robertson MSP to discuss the unique qualities of the Scottish industry and the key issues facing publishers.

The PPA emphasised the key role that publishers play in informing the Scottish public with expertly researched information, and the multi-platform nature of modern publishing businesses undergoing a digital transformation. Speaking as a former journalist, Mr Robertson acknowledged the key role that the fourth estate plays, with specialist publishers a key element of the media landscape.

Publishers have worked immensely hard to negotiate pandemic impacts, and now sharp rises in print and paper costs are threatening recovery. The PPA called on Mr Robertson to extend the tax relief promised to other creative industries in the Scottish National Party’s 2021 Election Manifesto, also noting that newspaper publishers continue to benefit from the Business Rates Relief introduced during the pandemic. Mr Robertson said he would consider the points made regarding giving publishers parity with other creative industries ahead of presenting his Culture Recovery Paper to the Scottish Cabinet.

The PPA also emphasised the importance of education in supporting the future of publishing; modern publishers need staff with a STEM background to drive their digital transformation, as well as creatives on the editorial side. PPA suggested that benefits could be joined up to support individuals getting work, with the creative industries used as a pilot scheme; in addition, Government support for freelancers through tax breaks would provide a critical boost to creatives.

The need for Government to support the transition to a net-zero economy was explored; support for paper and print industries in the supply chain to decarbonise will allow publishers to create a more sustainable print product. The PPA pointed out that PPA Scotland publishers, focused as they are on specific areas of interest, can play a key role in informing the public by providing information on sustainability and eco-friendly practices that consumers can apply to their own lives.

PPA will continue to engage with the Scottish Government as the Culture Recovery Paper is developed. If you have any questions, or would like to discuss policies that would help your business, please contact the PPA’s Public Affairs Executive Sebastian Cuttill: sebastian.cuttill@ppa.co.uk

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