South Scotland MSP, Joan McAlpine will be speaking at the launch of a major new report into the economic value of Robert Burns to Scotland which will be taking place on Saturday.
The report, titled ‘Robert Burns and the Scottish Economy: A New Model of Wealth, Worth and Potential’ has been put together by a research team at the University of Glasgow led by Prof Murray Pittock. It looks into how the worldwide appeal of Burns is already supporting Scottish business and jobs as well as examining the future potential to boost the tourism, hotel and restaurant industries across south west Scotland and beyond.
The report was funded by the Scottish Government and it’s believed to be the first to look into the economic benefits of Burns to the Scottish economy in such detail.
Commenting, Ms McAlpine says,
“I’m looking forward to finding out what this new report is saying about the current global value of the Robert Burns brand. In 2018 I led a debate at Holyrood on the economic value of Burns and spoke about earlier research that had estimated Burns had generated £157million for Scottish economy back in 2003. That figure will be much higher now.
“Scotland is already a world-leader in cultural tourism, attracting more heritage visitors than anywhere else in the UK outside London. This new report will give us a greater understanding of our cultural economy which will then enable us to maximise returns for the tourism sector and the jobs that depend on it. It is particularly important to the South of Scotland, in particular Ayrshire and Dumfries and Galloway, where Burns lived and worked. “
The launch will be taking place on Saturday at the Robert Burns Birthplace Museum in Alloway as part of the annual conference of the Centre for Robert Burns Studies.
Dumfries and Galloway Councillor, Stephen Thompson added:
“It’s fitting that the former Exciseman, equivalent to a modern tax officer for HM Customs and Excise, should be at the centre of such a study. As someone disillusioned with working on the land, a sentiment familiar in the south of Scotland today, and with his creative talent not a stable source of income, a familiar story for those working in the creative sector, the hard currency supporting Burns came from government which in turn came from tangible businesses such as trade and import-export.
“It’s interesting that in his time in Dumfries, ensuring the duty on alcohol was properly paid was a priority. Today’s SNP-led Government has recognised the health impacts and income generation from modern taxes levied on alcohol, and production of goods, especially luxury items, has a measurable impact on the economy. There are questions about the ephemeral and seasonal nature of tourism which this study could really address, especially with the importance being placed on secure contracts of employment, and paying the Scottish Living Wage as standards today’s government promotes. The last thing anyone wants is to see tourism as a cause of inequality.