A funding squeeze that is sharply reducing music education for children has become “a national scandal” that will damage youngsters and communities, and will rebound on the government cost-cutters, Andrew Lloyd Webber has warned.
The composer said last week that the removal of public funding that has forced schools to charge for music classes, or scrap them, was a “huge, false economy”.
“If there’s a civil servant with a brain in the Treasury . . . he or she should brief the chancellor on how much tax he collects from the ever-increasing contribution that the arts make to the British economy,” the former Tory peer said, adding: “Strangle the arts at birth and the cash cow that this government seems to take for granted just might dry up.”
Last month it emerged that Bingley Grammar School in West Yorkshire is charging pupils £5 a week to study for a music GCSE.
The Department for Education said it was investing £400m between 2016 and 2020 “for a diverse portfolio of music and arts education programmes designed to improve arts provision for all children”.