NE Scotland, Orkney & Shetland

Moray Council tax could rise by 4.79%

John Mustard Image copyright Moray Council
Image caption John Mustard criticised plans to raise tuition fees

Moray Council is proposing to put up council tax by 4.79% in a budget which could also see more than 80 posts lost.

Controversial plans to raise music tuition fees by 85% - which saw the council's head of music instruction service John Mustard resign - have now been reduced to a 20% proposal.

Mr Mustard said he had no intention of changing his mind about quitting.

The budget proposal - to be voted on next Wednesday - says 88 full-time equivalent jobs would go.

Libraries at Cullen and Tomintoul could also close.

'Continues erosion'

The original planned 85% increase would have raised music tuition fees to £699 a year.

Head of music instruction service Mr Mustard said the 85% 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.

Reacting to news of the reduced 20% proposal, he told the BBC Scotland news website: "The increase just continues the erosion of the service by price increases that has been ongoing for several years now, and 20% will still be a deal-breaker for some families.

"Therefore I have no intention of changing my mind."

Image copyright Ryan Main

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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