CUTS to council budgets could put music education at risk, a Gwent AM has warned.

Islwyn’s Rhianon Passmore, a former music teacher, made the comments in the Senedd this week. The Labour AM said she was concerned, as a non-statutory service, music education was an area where councils may seek to make cuts in the face of falling budgets.

“This is an issue very close to my heart, and I do not envy the tough choices that our councils are forced to make” she said. “But I do firmly believe that access to music should be a right for our youth, not just a privilege for those who can afford it, and it is right that Wales considers as a national priority the development of a national strategy or plan in funding music support services.”

Leader of the house Julie James replied, although music teaching is the responsibility of local authorities, work is being carried out within the Welsh Government to determine the way forward for the area.

“We recognise current pressures facing music services, as (Ms Passmore) has acknowledged, and the need to take action as soon as possible.

“That's why the cabinet secretary for education has made additional funding of £3 million over 2018-19 and 2019-20 available for music provision across Wales.

“The grant for this year is due to be released, and that announcement will be made very shortly.”

The Welsh Government’s full budget, which will include how much is handed out to each council in Wales, will be revealed later this month.