Baillie Gifford ends funding for third book festival

The link between another Scottish book festival and sponsors Baillie Gifford is ending following pressure from climate change protesters.

Wigtown Book Festival confirmed the investment firm had withdrawn from the partnership following announcements by the Edinburgh International Book Festival and the Borders Book Festival.

A short statement from the board of the Dumfries and Galloway event said it was announcing the news "with regret".

The company has been a supporter of the festival - staged this year from 27 September to 6 October - for more than a decade.

The festival in Scotland's national book town is the latest in a number of literary events across the UK to see sponsorship deals with Baillie Gifford end.

The Edinburgh International Book Festival and the Hay festival in Wales were followed on Tuesday by the Borders Book Festival in Melrose. Baillie Gifford's sponsorship of the Cheltenham Literature Festival has also ended.

Campaign group Fossil Free Books had criticised the festivals for working with a company it claims has links to fossil fuel firms and Israel, and welcomed the announcements.

line
[BBC]

Timeline

line
[BBC]

Baillie Gifford has defended its record, saying it is not a major fossil fuel investor and described claims that it had significant amounts of money in the occupied Palestinian territories as "offensively misleading".

Dozens of Scotland’s top writers last week criticised the impact of protests over the sponsorship on the Edinburgh International Book Festival.

They described the tactics being used as "ill-thought out".

'Stalwart support'

Organisers of the Wigtown festival had previously said they were confident that sponsorship it received conformed to "transparent ethical standards".

They had described Baillie Gifford as "exemplary supporters".

However, it confirmed this week that the investment firm had ended the partnership with the festival.

"It is with regret that we announce that the partnership between Wigtown Book Festival and Baillie Gifford is to end," said a board statement.

"We wish to offer huge thanks for their stalwart support over 14 years, which has allowed us to sustain and grow the festival and has provided economic, cultural and social benefits across our community."