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Scottish Executive Question Time — General Questions
Michael Russell (Scottish National Party)
I have a great deal of sympathy with the issue, as the member will know. It is a pity that she was not in the debate this morning. She might have made that contribution and therefore helpfully contradicted those of her colleagues who were objecting to any interference by me in any school, authority or part of Scotland. That said, I am sympathetic to the issue of music and cultural instruction. I agree that it is no easy option to cut such things; it should not be an easy option to cut such things.
I recognise the great difficulties that Scottish local authorities have and the pressures on them—pressures that were forced, of course, by the cuts that the Con-Dem coalition has made too fast and too far and presaged by cuts that Alistair Darling told us would be considerably worse than Thatcher's cuts. There are difficulties, but I have always stood four-square in defence of the arts and culture and teaching music and culture. I remain in that position.