Labour Move to Secure Future for Plockton Traditional Music Centre

17 February 2011

Scottish Labour has moved to secure the future of the National Centre for Excellence in Traditional Music at Plockton.

The future of the centre was placed in doubt following a decision of Highland Council to include the removal of funding from 2012.

Labour's cultural affairs spokesperson, Pauline McNeill MSP has written to Highland Council leader Michael Foxley seeking an assurance that it is the Highland Council administration's intention to guarantee the future of the centre.

She has made it clear that she is asking for this assurance to enable her to consider, "whether it is necessary for me to make clear how my Party will ensure its continued financing in the absence of any such assurance from the Council".

Pauline McNeill said,

"The National Centre for Excellence in Traditional Music is widely regarded as an outstanding success.

"Labour gave the extra funds to create this centre in 2000 and maintained special grant to the Council when in office.

"That money was then rolled into its overall grant aid on the basis that it provides this national facility.

"I know the Council are actively looking at what they should now do to respond to the clear expressions of support for the centre and have committed to seeking to secure its long term future.

"But uncertainty remains at the very time when potential new pupils are having to make the choice of whether to go to Plockton for the rest of their school career.

"That is a big choice and they need a guarantee they will be able to complete their education at Plockton.

"I would very much welcome the council giving the guarantee that is needed, then we can all move on without any further action being necessary.

"This needs to be fully resolved, and quickly."

Peter Peacock, the Highlands and Islands MSP who was schools minister at the time the centre was established, said,

"I am delighted my senior colleagues recognise the significance of this wonderful national asset at Plockton and are prepared to signal they will act to secure the centre's future if the Council doesn't feel able to.

"The future of the centre is too important to have any doubt remaining that it will continue.

"I have spoken to the Council Leader, Michael Foxley, about the issues and I believe a satisfactory solution can be found at the Council's own hand, and quickly.

"But if that proves not to be the case, other options will need to be considered.

"There are a number of options for any incoming government and I am absolutely confident the future of the centre can be secured one way or another."


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