UK Music CEO calls for urgent Government rethink over “unfair and unjust” funding cut to LIPA

UK Music CEO Michael Dugher has called on the Government to reconsider a funding regime that “unfairly discriminates” against the world-famous Liverpool Institute for the Performing Arts (LIPA).

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2/05/2019: UK Music CEO Michael Dugher has called on the Government to reconsider a funding regime that “unfairly discriminates” against the world-famous Liverpool Institute for the Performing Arts (LIPA).

Paul McCartney, founder of the Liverpool Institute for the Performing Arts

In a letter to Universities Minister Chris Skidmore, Mr Dugher warned of the “damaging impact” that the current funding scheme will have on specialist institutions like LIPA.

The CEO of UK Music, the body that represents the commercial music industry, urged the Minister to review the funding plan that could leave LIPA and other similar institutions facing a multi-million pound shortfall.

His intervention comes after Sir Paul McCartney, who established LIPA in his home city, warned about the “flawed” funding process. The former Beatle said: “LIPA is my passion and part of my legacy. It would not be fair to allow injustice to affect its future.”

Mr Dugher highlighted how the threat facing LIPA could jeopardise the talent pipeline that has made the UK industry the envy of the world.

In his letter to Mr Skidmore, Mr Dugher said: 

“I am writing to express our concerns at what we regard as the damaging impact of the current funding regime on small higher education institutions, particularly those dedicated to offering highly specialised disciplines like music.

“The music industry relies greatly on institutions such as the Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts (LIPA) to deliver a talented workforce to help grow the UK music industry, which contributes £4.5 billion a year to the UK economy.”

He added: “However, the current funding regime unfairly discriminates against world-leading institutions like LIPA and puts in serious jeopardy the talent pipeline that has made British music the envy of the world.”

The UK Music CEO concluded: “UK Music would be happy to work with you to identify further areas that a review could cover and ensure that the failures in the LIPA case can be resolved.”

Mr Dugher’s intervention comes after LIPA lodged a complaint over the decision made by the funding body, the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE), which has since been abolished.

Liverpool’s three other universities have looked at LIPA’s funding bid and agree that the institute has been treated unfairly.

Liverpool Riverside MP Louise Ellman lodged the complaint on behalf of LIPA, which is still being considered by the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman.

Commenting, Mr Dugher said: “The current funding regime is unfair and unjust in the way it treats world-leading institutions like LIPA.

“Sir Paul McCartney is right to call it a “flawed” process that appears to discriminate against smaller, specialist institutions.

“I have written to the Government to ask them for an urgent rethink. We are happy to work with ministers to identify areas a review could cover and resolve this case.”

Liverpool Riverside MP Dame Louise Ellman, who is a member of LIPA’s Council and whose constituency includes LIPA, said:

“I am deeply concerned at the potential impact of the Department’s decision on this world-class institution. The situation must be reassessed as a matter of urgency in view of the grave concerns that have been expressed about how this decision was reached.”

Among the alumni of LIPA are The Wombats, songwriter Caroline Ailin, whose credits include co-writing Dua Lipa’s worldwide hit New Rules, Sandi Thom, Dan Croll, Clean Cut Kid and Hannah Peel.

Read Micheal Dugher's letter to Chris Skidmore here

You can find out more about UK Music's Talent Pipeline campaign here

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