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Moray Council: Music tuition cost to drop by 30% amid price freezes to help economy recover from Covid and Brexit

Fishermen at Burghead Harbour.
Fishermen at Burghead Harbour.

Moray Council has agreed a wave of price freezes and drops amid hopes the measures will help the region bounce back from the coronavirus pandemic and Brexit.

Charges for school meals, swimming pools and parking will all be unchanged to ease the burden on residents.

Harbour charges for fishing vessels will also be frozen to help support the industry as it continues to battle the effect of leaving the EU.

Meanwhile, the cost of music tuition in schools is to drop by 30% amid hopes that will encourage more to pick up an instrument.

Current prices are among the highest in Scotland.

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Pupils leave Moray Council music tuition classes during lockdown

Moray Council agreed the drop and price freezes as part of its budget setting process for 2021/22.

Conservative group leader Tim Eagle proposed the price cut for music lessons after hearing many had turned away from instruments in recent months.

Tim Eagle, leader of Moray Council’s Conservative group.

He said: “I am aware the service has lost nearly 100 students since the beginning of Covid.

“Lowering charges would make instruction much more attractive to parents.

“It is already well known that learning a musical instrument has positive impacts on mental health, wellbeing and attainment.”

Price freezes aim to support Moray fishing fleet

Councillors also backed scrapping a proposed 2% increase in charges for fishing vessels to help support the local fishing fleet.

The industry is currently trying to adapt to new import rules that have left many fearing sales to EU nations are no longer viable.

Fochabers Lhanbryde councillor David Bremner.

David Bremner, SNP councillor for Fochabers Lhanbryde, said: “Regretfully the recent Brexit problems, which are creating further headaches for business, are beyond the council’s remit to solve.

“As we are in control of harbour charges, however, and the fishing industry is one of the sectors most affected, it was sensible that we provided a little bit of relief to the industry where we could, by freezing a range of charges for this year.

Warning price freezes may bite hard in future years

Independent Forres councillor George Alexander urged caution against too many Moray Council price freezes.

He said: “If you start throwing money around this year because you think we’re well-off, be warned, the accounts are already showing a deficit for the future.”

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Mr Eagle and council leader Graham Leadbitter both signalled support for reducing the cost of school meals to increase uptake.

However, a decision was taken to revisit the issue after the forthcoming Scottish Parliament elections due to both the SNP and Conservatives pledging to expand free lunch provision.

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