Midlothian Council votes to scrap music tuition cuts as musical flash mob protests outside

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Midlothian Council has voted to scrap controversial cuts to music tuition in schools as campaigners gathered in large numbers to rally against the proposal.

The local authority announced at the end of January that it was set to become the first in Scotland to axe all musical instruments in its schools, save for those studying for Higher or National Five exams.

The cuts were part of a raft of cost saving measures including the closure of public toilets and libraries om a bid to shrink a multi-million pound shortfall in the council budget for this year.

The tuitions announcement sparked a swell of protests from students, parents and music teachers across the country with fears that similar plans could be executed elsewhere.

As a large musical flash mob protested the cuts from outside the council chambers in Dalkeith on Tuesday, Midlothian councillors came to a decision.

Proposals to axe music tuition in schools, close three libraries and three sports centres, and close public toilets were rejected by councillors during the 2019/20 budget meeting.

A musical flash mob gathered outside the council chambers in Dalkeith. Picture: Lisa Ferguson

A musical flash mob gathered outside the council chambers in Dalkeith. Picture: Lisa Ferguson

Plans to close Penicuik recycling centre, reduce roads maintenance and remove supported bus travel and community transport were also rejected.

In addition, the council has announced that free swimming lessons for Primary 4 pupils will continue and the Active Schools team will be retained.

Proposed reductions in learning assistants, adult and youth lifelong learning, and school crossing guides have also been rejected and funding for the Midlothian community policing team will continue.

Midlothian Council says a series of other cost-cutting measures have been approved as it seeks to balance its budget for the year ahead.

Additional Scottish Government has also been utilised and a Council Tax rise of 4.79% agreed upon.

A petition carrying more than 12,000 signatures against the music tuition cuts was delivered to Midlothian Council at 9am this morning.

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