Decisions about extra-curricular activities in schools are made locally and are funded in a variety of ways. For example, the Scottish Government has provided more than £12 million this financial year to local authorities to support opportunities to be active before, during and after school through the sportscotland active schools programme. We have also provided £12 million this academic year, in addition to the significant sums that local authorities are already investing in music, so that learners can access free instrumental music tuition in schools.
Last week, it was reported that the £9 million funding for the youth music initiative was to be cut with immediate effect. It was then reported that the funding was to be paused, before it was finally confirmed as being secure. That flip-flopping caused legitimate concern and confusion, as that funding is vital for our talented young people.
Despite those concerns, the Scottish National Party refused to touch the £20 million that it has set aside for a referendum to feed its constitutional obsession. Can the cabinet secretary provide much-needed clarity on the Scottish Government plans for the funding of the youth music initiative?
As has been said in the chamber many times already, the £20 million that is often referred to is for the next financial year. If we are going to discuss this year’s budget, let us actually discuss this year’s budget. As the Minister for Culture, Europe and International Development confirmed on 15 September, the funding is secure and Creative Scotland has issued the contracts to delivery partners on 21 September.
I agree with the member that the youth music initiative plays a vital role in nurturing talent, which is why I am pleased that it is being supported.
Quite frankly, Presiding Officer, I will take no lessons from a Conservative on financial management, given the state of our economy and of the United Kingdom finances, and the impact that that will have on our public services, including on education, across Scotland.