skip to main content

MU Still Waiting for Response to Letter Urging Government to Pause Proposed HE Funding Cuts

The letter highlighted the catastrophic impact that the Government's proposed higher education funding cuts could have on music and the arts in the UK.

Published: 21 May 2021 | 2:55 PM Updated: 02 August 2023 | 12:47 PM
Photograph of an empty recital hall, there are two double basses lying on their sides and a lot of empty chairs and music stands.
The proposed cut will have a catastrophic impact on music and the arts in the UK, risking the future of our creative industries, which are worth £102bn to the UK economy. Photo credit: Stocksy

Over a week after writing to the Education Secretary about the proposed 50% cut to Government funding for music and arts subjects at higher education level, the MU is still waiting for a response.

In the letter to Gavin Williamson, MU General Secretary Horace Trubridge urges them to pause the proposed cut to Government funding.

Trubridge also calls for a meeting with the Education Secretary and representatives across arts and music sectors to discuss the effects of the proposed cut on the UK’s world leading music and creative industries.

Proposed Government funding cuts will have a catastrophic impact

“The proposed cut will have a catastrophic impact on music and the arts in the UK, risking the future of our creative industries, which are worth £102bn to the UK economy, and music, which is worth £5.8bn and supported close to 200,000 jobs in 2019,” the letter says.

Trubridge highlights the impact on students, writing “It could cause utter chaos as courses are withdrawn at the last minute, leaving students who have applied and been accepted onto courses starting in the autumn without the future they are currently working towards.”

The letter goes on to spotlight the disproportionate impact of cuts on those from less privileged backgrounds, including Black, Asian and minority ethnic students and disabled students. Too many young people are already struggling to access music lessons at school – now they will face yet another barrier to pursing music at university and as a career.

High quality music education for all

Trubridge also raises the impact on music education in primary and secondary schools, and the impact of the proposed funding cut on the Government’s own Model Music Curriculum.

“There is currently a shortage of trained music teachers to deliver this, so we must ensure that the profession is allowed to grow to meet Government aspirations,” he wrote.

A full and fair consultation is essential

Finally, the General Secretary raised concerns about the fairness of the consultation process. “I am concerned that the Office for Students’ consultation on these proposals, which closed on 6 May, included only one question on the 50 percent cut to music and arts courses among questions on many other unrelated issues, potentially causing confusion and watering down respondents’ serious concerns,” the letter says.

Are you an MU member? Opt in to get news emails from the MU, including the latest updates on this and all our campaigns. Log in to My MU to update your communications preferences.

Find out more about the proposed funding cuts and their impact.

Get MU membership today

From gig players to part-time teachers and professional instrumentalists, MU members can access specialist insurance for musicians. This includes accident cover, health schemes, travel insurance and car insurance add-ons through the Musicians’ Union.

Explore our member services

  • Get public liability insurance for musicians
  • Access expert legal support
  • Be represented in your profession
  • Access expert career advice, resources, and training events
  • Connect, network, and get to know the community of musicians

Learn about all membership benefits

Get MU membership today

Continue reading

Black and white image of Gil sat at a piano in his younger years.

Tribute to Gil Martin

Gilbert Alexander Martin was a successful and highly accomplished pianist, as well as a lifelong member and supporter of the Musician's Union. He passed away on 29 May 2024. This tribute has been provided by Gil’s daughters, Gillian and Susan.

Published: 11 July 2024

Read more about Tribute to Gil Martin
Sir Kier Starmer Labour leader giving his first speech after winning the general election and becoming prime minister on 5 July.

MU Welcomes New Labour Government and Meets New MPs

Having been so heavily involved in forming Labour policy and the manifesto, we look forward to working with the new Government to implement meaningful change for the country and for musicians.

Published: 11 July 2024

Read more about MU Welcomes New Labour Government and Meets New MPs
Colourful wooden symbols of people and figures in wheelchairs against a dark background, representing equality, diversity and inclusion.

MU Becomes Disability Confident Employer

The MU has recently become a Disability Confident employer. We want to recruit and retain amazing people and by joining the Government's voluntary Disability Confident Scheme, we aim to practically demonstrate our commitments to supporting disabled workers.

Published: 11 July 2024

Read more about MU Becomes Disability Confident Employer