ASSURANCES have been given over changes to youth music services in Flintshire.

From September, charges for extra curricular music lessons and instrument hire are set to be introduced for young musicians.

But Flintshire Council bosses have said costs can be spread over a 12-month period, while some families will still be eligible for free lessons.

Concerns about the charges were raised by councillors during a recent meeting of the corporate resources scrutiny meeting at County Hall.

Treuddyn councillor Carolyn Thomas said: “The charges are a lot if there is no facility to pay per month. Monthly payments would make it more affordable.

“I know from experience that parents are hit with a lot of requests for money for curriculum-supporting activities in the September term, which can be very difficult after just coming back off holiday and purchasing new school uniforms.”

Charges of £40 a term will be introduced with a £25-a-year instrument hire charge.
Children eligible for free school meals will get free lessons while families with more than one child in the programme will get a discount of 50 per cent after the first child. Cllr Billy Mullen said he was concerned about poorer families not being able to continue the service.

Flintshire Council’s chief executive Colin Everett said the service was the most subsidised local government music programmes in England and Wales.

He said: “The business plan was produced by the manager of the music service.

“We have to look if the scale of the charges are right and we think they are.

“There are no plans to increase the charges in future years apart from marginal increases.

“We believe the business plan will work and the music service believes it will work.”

The plans are contained within the council’s budget for 2011/12 and will be voted on by the full council on March 1.