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Brighton Journal | 21st January 2020

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Proposals Made to Cut Underfunded East Sussex Music Service

Proposals Made to Cut Underfunded East Sussex Music Service
Hannah Midgley

A range of local areas currently benefit from the service.

The East Sussex Music Service is at risk of having funding heavily cut by the council.

East Sussex County Council are pessimistic about the sustainability of the service.

They say that a lack of funding in other areas means that other children’s services are being put at risk.

Services to the arts are commonly cut when attempting to redistribute funds.

Despite an Arts Council grant, the service is still £180,000 short of funding.

A public consultation is planned to seek a resolution, with local tensions rising.

A demonstration was held at the Eastbourne Bandstand

Councillor Bob Standley, a prominent figure in the county, has spoken out about the proposed plans. He has expressed an understanding of the importance of the service: “We recognise the value of the music service in East Sussex”. He does, however, see the need for a serious rethink, as the county “cannot afford to provide the music service in its current format”.

Standley has expressed his want to hear local concerns and suggestions: “this consultation will give people the opportunity to share their views, ideas and any information that will help us achieve this”. He also made clear the councils apprehension at having to take such drastic measures: “Reducing the role of the music service is not a decision we want to take, but significant cuts in Government funding mean we have to make some incredibly difficult decisions to ensure we are protecting the most vulnerable people in our county”.

The service is running on empty, with an injection of cash from the councils reserves keeping it afloat.

The service would still remain if the proposals went ahead, and support would still be provided to low-income families.

However, it would see the closure of the instrumental teaching aspect provided by the service, this being a major component.

The consultation runs until July 27th, and could be pivotal in deciding the future of the service.


Featured image by Ben Gesoff

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