Wales

Welsh National Opera chief's school music cuts fear

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Media captionDavid Poutney fears for the next generation of musicians and singers

It could take 15 years before the impact of cuts to music education services are felt, warns the Welsh National Opera's chief executive.

David Pountney fears a "wiping out" of musical life at the grassroots.

Some councils have cut their support for subsidised school music lessons, while youth orchestras and choirs have also faced a funding squeeze.

Council leaders said they were looking at how to run future services in a "dire" financial climate.

Mr Pountney said the cutbacks were "very worrying."

"I understand perfectly that local councils are in a terrifically difficult financial situation.

"But we do have to be very careful about stripping away the basic fabric of our cultural lives. And if you start doing that in education and music services at the grassroots level, it's bound to have consequences later on."

Image caption Mr Poutney said when money was tight, cultural life should still be seen as an important part of society

The culture budgets of Welsh local authorities were cut by 14% in 2014/15 compared to 2013/14.

Critics have included Stereophonics' frontman Kelly Jones, who said cuts could have a "devastating" effect on youngsters and deny them the chances he had to become a musician.

The Welsh Local Government Association said councils recognised the importance of local music services.

It said they were playing an "active role" in a task force looking at how services could be delivered and run in future, which was due to report back in April.

"Any recommendations must be seen within the context of the dire financial climate that local councils in Wales are now facing," said a spokesperson.

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