Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee welcomes Scottish Register of Tartans Bill

06/06/2008

A statutory Scottish register of tartans came one step closer today when the Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee published its Stage 1 Report on the Scottish Register of Tartans Bill introduced to the Parliament by Jamie McGrigor MSP.

The Bill proposes to establish a Scottish Register of Tartans and a Keeper of the register of tartans to maintain and oversee the register and new registrations. It also sets out the procedures for registering new tartan designs.

Committee Convener Tavish Scott MSP said –

“The Committee has given its support to the general principles of Jamie McGrigor’s bill to establish a Scottish Register of Tartans. It also commends the Scottish Tartans Authority and the Scottish Tartans World Register for commiting to make over their collections to the proposed Register.

“We believe that it is important to protect and preserve the existing historical records relating to tartan and make information on tartan accessible to the general public. We also recognise the potential benefits to the Scottish textile industry.

“The Committee heard views from two camps on whether a tartan should be woven or not. The ‘modernists’ believed that tartan as a design could be reproduced in a variety of formats, while the ‘wovenists’ were of the view that tartan was historically a woven design and that this should be reflected in the definition in the Bill. The Committee took the view that tartan has been historically defined by its woven character and has called on Jamie McGrigor to consider changing the definition to include the requirement that the design should be capable of being woven.”

Among the Committee’s other conclusions and recommendations are -

  • Further evidence is required from the Member on whether a requirement to include a swatch with an application to register would help promote the textile industry in Scotland or whether it would deter applications.
  • The Keeper should develop a classification system that differentiates historically significant tartans from those developed for other reasons such as corporate or sporting design is essential.
  • Further clarification is needed as to what constitutes a sufficient link between an applicant and their right to authorise the Keeper to register a tartan.
  • That it is crucial that the fee to register a tartan should be set at a level which does not deter genuine applicants but at the same time discourages frivolous applicants.

Background

The Scottish Register of Tartans Bill was introduced to the Scottish Parliament by Jamie McGrigor MSP on 25 March 2008. On the 16 April 2008, the Parliament agreed that the Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee be appointed as the lead committee in consideration of the Bill.

As well as registering new tartans, the Register will incorporate the approximately 3,000 tartans held in the Scottish Tartans World Register (STWR) and the 6,000 tartans held in the Scottish Tartans Authority’s (STA) register. The historic archive will be kept at Register House under the auspices of the National Archive of Scotland.

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