THE Education Secretary has suggested some councils do not “recognise the value” of teaching children to play musical instruments, during questioning about charges for the service by MSPs.

John Swinney was among those giving evidence at a Holyrood inquiry into music tuition in schools. He argued the charges – set by individual local authorities – risked creating barriers for children wanting to play an instrument.

Swinney also revealed he was not considering grants from central government for music tuition to allow councils to stop charging families.

“Some local authorities recognise the value of instrumental music tuition and want to put in place no barriers to the access of instrumental music tuition as a consequence of the decisions that they’ve made,” said Swinney.

He listed Dundee, Edinburgh, the Western Isles, Glasgow, Orkney, Renfrewshire and West Dunbartonshire as local authorities that had not introduced charges.

Labour’s Iain Gray asked whether the Education Secretary was content or concerned by the variation in costs of musical tuition.

Swinney replied: “There is quite clearly a risk that the cost is an inhibitor to the participation of young people within instrumental music tuition.”

Lauren Bruce, local government finance chief officer, explained cuts to local government disproportionately affect certain areas due to ringfencing around issues such as teacher numbers.