NE Scotland, Orkney & Shetland

Head of music instruction quits over Moray tuition fees rise

John Mustard Image copyright Moray Council
Image caption John Mustard is said to have created a "huge musical legacy"

The influential head of Moray Council's music instruction service has resigned in protest at the local authority's tuition fees rising by 85%.

John Mustard said the increase - approved last month as part of a bid to balance the council's budget - would "deprive" many young people of a skill and pleasure.

He said he regretted having to make the decision.

Moray Council said it was sorry to see Mr Mustard leave.

The 85% increase will raise music tuition fees to £699 a year.

Councillors approved the increase on 23 January.

'So much damage'

Mr Mustard said in a statement: "I can confirm that I have resigned as head of Moray Council's music instruction service.

"The reason is simple: I cannot agree with the decision by the council to raise the cost of music lessons by 85% - to what will be the highest level in Scotland.

"In a low-wage economy such as Moray this will have the effect of depriving many young people of a valuable skill and pleasure for life.

"I regret this deeply, but I cannot be part of a decision that will do so much damage to a service I've built up to national acclaim over the last 30 years."

Image copyright Ryan Main
Image caption Moray councillors approved the increase in January

A Moray Council spokesman said: "We are sorry to see John Mustard leave, he has created a huge musical legacy in Moray.

"We wish him well for the future."

In November, MSPs were told charging pupils for music tuition meant that only the "elite" could afford to learn to play an instrument while poorer children missed out.

It was reported last year that only 10 of Scotland's 32 councils still provided free music tuition.

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