Music teaching service to cut jobs and raise prices.
JOBS will be axed and prices rise as a service providing music lessons to thousands of Teesside youngsters seeks to make PS700,000 cuts.
Staff at Tees Valley Music Service were dealt the bitter blow just three weeks before Christmas.
Of the 59 employees, 13 members of the teaching staff are set to lose their posts by the end of April.
And while bosses said the availability of the service to the area's children would not be affected, parents were warned that prices were likely to rise.
The move comes just two years after campaigners successfully fought plans to close the service.
The TVMS is managed by Stockton Council on behalf of its pupils as well as those in the Middlesbrough, Redcar and Cleveland, and Hartlepool council areas.
It is funded through the Arts Council plus the income it generates.
The local authority said the cuts are being made to manage a sharp drop in Arts Council funding allocated for the next financial year.
The Arts Council which distributes public money from the Government and the National Lottery, provided PS3m of funding for the service, phased over three years. It provided around PS1m last year, almost PS1.4m this year and almost PS700,000 next year.
Cllr Ann McCoy, Cabinet member for children and young people at Stockton Council, said: "We can con-firm the council has begun consultation with TVMS staff as part of a review which will manage the PS700,000 reduction in the Arts Council grant. "A staff consultation is now under way until January 20."
She said that under the proposals, it is envisaged the current range and availability of music services will be maintained.
"The changes in Arts Council funding will be met through a revision to staffing structures, incremental changes to fees and charges, and a new model of service delivery," she added.
"There will also be the introduction of a new teaching and instructor 'bank' - allowing greater flexibility and allocation of music teaching and instruction across the Tees Valley."
TVMS received PS1.3m of Government funding to keep it going between April 2011 and July 2012.
Prior to that, a campaign was fought to save the service amid threats of closure. At that time 70 redundancy notices were sent out while a Government review of music education was carried out.
Egglescliffe School's head of music Matthew Haworth spearheaded a campaign to save the service, launching an online campaign.
The notices were eventually withdrawn and the future of the service secured after local authority allocations were confirmed.
James Wharton, Stockton South MP, said: "We fought long and hard to save this service only a few years ago so for the Arts Council to cut funding comes as a real disappointment.
" It is good that the service itself is being retained and young people across our area will still have access to much of its great work but there is no point pretending this isn't bad news, given how much the Arts Council spends in London a reduction like this in our area raises serious questions about their priorities."
Music teacher Matthew Haworth spearheaded a campaign to save the service
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|Publication:||Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)|
|Date:||Dec 12, 2013|
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