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Tom Brake Backs London Mozart Players in Parliament

May 19, 2008 5:44 PM

Last week, Tom Brake MP for Carshalton and Wallington questioned the Minister of State, at the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, Margaret Hodge about the cuts in funding for London Mozart players and other valuable community organisations.

In his intervention Mr Brake highlighted that the organisations funded by Arts Council London received very short notice of cuts to their funding.

In her answer to Mr Brake's question, the Minister claimed that London Mozart Players had in fact received an adequate period in which they could make representations. She added that The Arts Council has now commissioned a review of the decision.

London Mozart players, the UK's first chamber orchestra was founded by Harry Blech in 1949. Supported by Croydon Council, the LMP has been Resident Orchestra of Fairfield and the London Borough of Croydon since 1989. The orchestra which has the backing of many of Tom Brake's constituents has been a vital part of the community carrying out work on many educational and social projects.

Commenting on the issue, Tom Brake said: "the decision to withdraw a significant chunk of the orchestra's funding will be a significant loss not only to the local community but the UK as a whole, as well as its supporters abroad. The Arts Council's review must identify ways of safeguarding the work of London's valuable community arts organisations."

The full Hansard exchange between Tom Brake and Margaret Hodge is listed below.

12 May 2008 : Column 1055

T3. [204440] Tom Brake (Carshalton and Wallington) (LD): The organisations funded by Arts Council England were given such short notice of cuts to their funding that many of them had no time to find out why it was being cut or to find alternative means of funding their activities. When will valuable community organisations such as London Bubble and the London Mozart Players hear the results of Arts Council England's review and find out how ACE and the Government are going to help them to secure their long-term future?

The Minister of State, Department for Culture, Media and Sport (Margaret Hodge): Let me first correct what the hon. Gentleman has said. All organisations were given a period in which they could make representations- [ Interruption. ] It was a perfectly adequate period in which they could make representations, and there were also discussions. The Arts Council reconsidered and changed its view in the light of those representations, and it has now commissioned a review of the process and will be reflecting on that. I must also say to the hon. Gentleman that the arts change and grow, and if we want a flourishing arts sector in this country, it is absolutely right that the Arts Council should change the pattern of its expenditure investment so that we can maintain innovation and new arts organisations right across the UK.

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