Music school closure questioned by Greens

Green MSPs and councillors representing the capital have reacted angrily to a proposal by the council to close the City of Edinburgh Music School.

Andy Wightman MSP says that while he recognises the “serious funding challenges” facing the council, he could see no sense in the proposal from an “educational point of view”. Claire Miller, a Green councillor and member of the council’s finance committee, says parents and pupils must have their say before any final decision.

Lothian MSP Andy Wightman said:

“I am utterly opposed to this proposal. It makes no sense from an educational point of view and represents a substantial cut in music tuition across the city. I recognise that local government is facing serious funding challenges and that is why, at Holyrood, I am arguing for more resource and for greater fiscal autonomy for councils.

“Closing one of Scotland’s national centres of excellence in the arts is indefensible and I will work with our team of Green councillors to do everything I can to make sure parents’ and pupils’ voices are heard before any decisions are taken.”

Green member of Edinburgh’s finance committee Cllr Claire Miller supported today’s decision by the committee to delay the budget consultation by 11 days.

Cllr Miller said:

“The council administration was seeking approval to consult on £21m of potential budget cuts with only a bare single line describing each cut and leaving it unclear what the actual cut was. That’s close to asking opposition members to sign off a blank cheque and is no way to run public services. By delaying 11 days, the full detail can be available before the consultation is signed off.”

Miller added:

“It is unacceptable for families whose worlds have been turned upside by discovering overnight that their school may disappear. It is crucial that parents’ and pupils’ voices are heard before any decisions are taken.”