Edinburgh, Fife & East Scotland

Music tuition saved as Midlothian council hikes tax nearly 5%

Protestors against plans to cut music tuition gather in Midlothian
Image caption Protestors outside the council's Dalkeith headquarters objected to plans to cut music tuition.

Councillors in Midlothian have rejected plans to cut music tuition to save money.

It was one of several proposals under consideration to meet a budget shortfall of nearly £10m.

The local authority agreed to put up council tax by 4.79% in the coming year - the maximum allowed by Holyrood - to help fund council services.

However, some services will still be affected by cuts as the council tries to balance its budget.

The council had previously said that the plans would mean only pupils studying Higher and Advanced Higher music would get free instrumental music tuition.

Music would still be taught in schools as part of the normal curriculum, but the opportunity to pay for extra lessons to learn an instrument would be scrapped from August 2019.

This would have allowed the council to cut more than nine music instructor posts.

Schoolchildren, teachers and parents took part in a protest outside Midlothian Council's Dalkeith headquarters as the plans came under discussion.

Many had musical instruments with them as they objected to the proposed cuts.

Council leader Derek Milligan went out to deliver the news to protestors that music tuition had been saved.

The council agreed to reduce some services to save money, including cutting back the school transport budget and increasing car parking charges.

It will also close Vogrie golf course in Gorebridge, cut back on landscaping, reduce cleaning in council buildings except schools, stop its taxi card scheme and end healthy lifestyle development and community safety teams' funding. Senior management will also be reduced.

It will receive extra funding from the Scottish government and will find savings in addition to the tax hike.

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