We strongly support the provision of music and arts in schools, and I firmly believe in the importance of investing in creative schools for the future. I am meeting my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Education next month to discuss music and arts in education.
Cambridgeshire Music hub does a great job for Cambridgeshire schools, but many still struggle—so much so that long-established local music shop Millers Music last year felt moved to donate 21 free pianos to local schools. More than 270 groups applied, leading Simon Pollard, the managing director, to say:
“This overwhelming response to the giveaway only served to highlight the lack of funding for music in the curriculum.”
It was a tremendous gesture, but are random acts of generosity really the way to sustain our creative industries in the future?
I welcome the generosity of that group and of many others, but the hon. Gentleman is right—it is not all down to local generosity, welcome as that must be. We have invested over £400 million in music provision through music education hubs, and we continue to invest at the rate of £75 million a year.
Owing to stinging cuts from Edinburgh, local authorities in my constituency have had to face cuts to music education. Is there anything that my right hon. Friend can do to provide support from Westminster to local authorities in Scotland, to protect the services that the SNP will not?
As my hon. Friend knows, we have protected per pupil funding in England, but of course education is devolved in Scotland. I do not know whether the Scottish Government have provided anything like the support that we have for music education hubs here in England. The money that we have put into music education hubs goes an awfully long way, and frankly it looks like the SNP Government need to do more.