Politicians, pollsters and the electorate are gearing up for the final election push this week. But how might music be affected by Thursday's result?
Is enough being done to foster musical appreciation and talent? As a nation, are we properly investing in our musical future? Today Music Matters debates music policy with representatives from the political parties and leading British musicians.
In this programme
Arts and the Election
This week Tom is joined by representatives from the three major parties - Minister of State for the Arts, New Labour, Estelle Morris; the Conservative Shadow Minister for the Arts, Hugo Swire; and the Liberal Democrats' Culture and Media Spokesman, Don Foster, - to discuss their policies for music and music education in the next parliament.
Music is usually a stranger to the political limelight, but all that changed last July, when the government launched its Music Manifesto. It was the first time that any government had produced a document that spoke about the importance of music: 'Music is magic. ... It enriches and inspires.'
For some, this was evidence of real political commitment but for many musicians the Manifesto was just hot air, full of well-meaning aims like 'to provide every young person with first access to a range of music experiences' - but with little in the way of definite, measurable goals.
Two musicians on either side of the Music Manifesto debate share their views: composer and broadcaster Howard Goodall and percussionist Evelyn Glennie.
But it's not just about the Music Manifesto. The reduction in the Arts Council of England's subsidy for the next three years was announced in December, a cut that Sir Christopher Frayling, the Arts Council's Chairman, described as a 'return to stop-start funding'
The Stage magazine last week revealed that Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell instructed the Arts Council to support projects in line with New Labour policies on health and education as well as the arts - a matter of government interfering where it shouldn't?
Richard Morrison, Chief Music Critic of The Times joins Tom in the studio to give his response to the issues raised.
Find out how much Music really Matters to the three main parties.