WILTSHIRE Council cabinet member Laura Mayes has pledged that children will not be affected by a recommendation to close the Wiltshire Music Service as part of plans to slash spending.

Coun Mayes, who is lead member for children’s services, said the equivalent of ten full time jobs would be lost saving £140,000 a year.

She said: “I can definitely say that music lessons for children will not change. The only thing that is changing is the exact way the service is delivered.

“At the moment the council acts as a bridge between the music teachers and the schools but from the start of the autumn term schools will liase directly with Wiltshire Education Music Hub which is mainly funded by the Arts Council.”

She pledged that children would not have to pay more for lessons and they would still be able to hire instruments.

She said: “It is always difficult to have to make people redundant but we have to look at all non statutory services to see where savings can be made.”

She said meetings had already taken place with head teachers. “They all seem very relaxed about it,” she said.

But some parents are worried that the end of the Wiltshire Music Service, which will be discussed at the council’s budget meeting next Tuesday will mean a reduction in music lessons and a possible increase in cost to parents.

One parent wrote to say: “I've just found out that the whole, not just one or two people, but the whole of the Music Service will be out of a job as they are scrapping Wiltshire Music Service all together in the summer due to government cuts.

“I understand that when cuts happen it's normally less important things that go first, however, music is so important. It helps children with team work, gives them a sense of achievement, it helps their numeracy, using the left side of their brains, co-ordination and it is so fulfilling when you perform.”

In a letter to parents Nick Howdle, the head of Wiltshire Music Service, said that the council had to find a way of saving £30 million on the budget because of a cut in the Government grant and a rise in demand for key services.

He said: “The proposal is that the Wiltshire Music Education Hub, funded mainly by the Arts Council, leads on the delivery of music for children and young people from September 2015.

"This should mean that:

• Your child could continue to learn with the same tutor. Former employees of the music service will be able to work directly in Wiltshire Schools from September.

• Your child can continue to access clubs and groups delivered through Wiltshire Young Musicians and Salisbury Area Young Musicians.

“We are also aware that a child’s music education can be a considerable expense for families. We want to ensure that high quality provision remains accessible and that support is provided for those who need it the most.”