Musicians’ Union Criticises UK Plans To Cut Music Funding

The government is currently running a consultation process on proposals to impose a 50 percent funding cut to some higher education subjects, such as music

The Musicians’ Union has criticised UK government plans to slash funding of certain subjects, such as music, at higher education level in England by 50 percent.

The Office for Students (OfS), the independent regulator for higher education in England, has opened a consultation on funding for 2021 to 2022, which closes today (May 6). The 51-page consultation document is based on plans proposed by the Education Secretary, Gavin Williamson.

"The government proposes that the courses that are not among its strategic priorities – covering subjects in music, dance, drama and performing arts; art and design; media studies; and archaeology – are to be subject to a reduction of 50 percent," the consultation document reads, adding that while the government wants "provision in those subject areas to continue to be widely available, we believe they are nevertheless lower priority for OfS funding than other high-cost subjects."

Opposing the plans, the Musicians’ Union has said that the funding cut would greatly affect the organisation’s members’ work, as well as the financial viability of music courses and training for the next generation of musicians and music professionals.

Underlining that the music industry was worth £5.8 billion to the UK economy in 2019, the organisation has argued that such a heavy cut in the UK’s higher education music provision could see the nation "lose its world-leading status." A statement also argues that the notice period on this cut is far too short to enable higher education institutions to plan for September, when losses of funding would come into play.

The Musicians’ Union has added its voice to the OfS’ consultation on the matter, and has encouraged others to add their disapproval via the OfS website.

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