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Local authority budget cuts to music services could lead to premature closures

18 November 2010


The Federation of Music Services (FMS), which represents 98% of all music services in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, has expressed grave concerns about cuts being announced to services ahead of the completion of the Henley Review of the Funding and Delivery of Music Education.


Currently, 65% of local authorities contribute either in cash, kind (administration, buildings etc) or both to music service funding. On average, local authorities contribute 10.5% of total music service budgets. Remaining funding comes from central government’s Music Grant (formerly the Music Standards Fund), parental fees, school and other contributions.


Initial findings from a survey recently conducted by the FMS with its members revealed that around 18.5% of music services receiving local authority assistance are likely to have their funding completely stopped in the future. A further 47% of music services in receipt of local authority funds are contemplating cuts of varying levels from 10% to 50%; the remainder are awaiting the outcome of their local authority’s deliberations. This means that nearly all services currently receiving local authority support will have budgets reduced in some way. Some will be triggered immediately in 2011, others over a period of two to three years. For some music services these cuts could mean either at worst closure, or at best much reduced resources.  


Stated FMS Chief Executive, Virginia Haworth-Galt, “We recognise the pressure many local authorities are under but would urge them to hold back their plans until we know the results of the Henley Review. Music and our children’s education are too important to be jettisoned like this, particularly when we know that 91% of the public back music education in schools*.


“The FMS and its members are preparing for change but at this stage we should remain flexible and open minded about the future shape of music education. The Government has reiterated the importance of music in child development. These moves by local authorities could precipitate a collapse of some services before they have the ability to respond to the new environment. The Government has stated that there will be period of transition in 2011 – 2012 before any new plans are implemented.  In addition Ed Vaizey, Minister for Culture, Communications and the Creative Industries has said publicly that he is minded to ring-fence music funding.”


*YouGov Incorporated Society of Musicians Research 2010

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