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Planned 50% funding cuts for arts university subjects “catastrophic” for UK culture, Musicians’ Union warns

An urgent petition has been launched to counter the plans

The Musicians' Union has warned that the UK government's plans to cut funding to arts subjects at universities will be "catastrophic".

In a report carried out by the Guardian, it's claimed that the planned cuts  - which would affect the likes of music, drama, dance and performance arts - could come into effect as soon as autumn. According to a consultation by education secretary Gavin Williamson and the Office for Students (OfS), arts subjects were not "strategic priorities". In his guidance letter to the OfS, he said: “The OfS should reprioritise funding towards the provision of high-cost, high-value subjects. We would then potentially seek further reductions in future years.”

As the trade union representing musicians working in the UK across all sectors of the music business, the Musicians Union signalled the potential fallout of the move. “The cuts will be catastrophic for most music provision at university level, affecting the financial viability of music courses and training for the next generation of musicians,” said Chris Walters, the MU’s national organiser for education. “Music was worth £5.8bn to the UK economy in 2019, which depends on properly funded university provision. The UK’s world-leading status in music and the arts could be in serious jeopardy from these cuts.”

The news comes off the back of hundreds of arts organisations signing an open letter to Boris Johnson regarding the post-Brexit touring crisis.

Stating that the new development is an attack on the future of UK arts, a petition has been launched to stop the funding cuts. Read and sign it here

Last October, we investigated how the government's response to COVID-19 could kill live music as we know it.