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UK Music host expert panel on the Talent Pipeline at Lib Dem Conference

More than 60 people packed our event to talk about the importance of the Talent Pipeline

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18/09/18: More than 60 people packed UK Music's event at the Liberal Democrats' conference in Brighton yesterday to talk about the importance of the Talent Pipeline in the music industry.

(L-R) Baroness Sue Garden, Lord Tim Clement-Jones, Michael Dugher, Mel Thornton and Tom Gray participating in the panel

An expert panel of senior Lib Dem parliamentarians and industry professionals discussed the importance of young people from all backgrounds being given the opportunity to access music.

The panel, which was chaired by UK Music CEO Michael Dugher, took place at the Metropole Hotel on Monday lunchtime.

Lord Tim Clement-Jones, the party's Digital Economy spokesperson in the House of Lords, said: “Very few people are now employed full time as music teachers. This is an important industry, and the economic value of creativity is great.”

He also highlighted the importance of reforming business rates in order to protect grassroots music venues, called for tax incentives to support them, and spoke of the positive decision to include the Agent of Change principle in the National Planning Policy Framework.

Party Spokesperson on Further and Higher Education and Skills Baroness Sue Garden said that “often children who are struggling with other subjects come into their own with music,” and that “music has a key role in enabling social mobility.”

She also backed UK Music’s calls for provision of creative subjects being a consideration for whether a school achieves an “outstanding” Ofsted rating.

Mel Thornton, Head of Careers and Employability at BIMM Brighton, outlined the practical experience which students at the college can gain to prepare them for the music industry.

She added: “To be successful in music, you have to get involved. We make sure our students have opportunities to work across all areas of the music industry.”

Tom Gray, from the Mercury Prize-winning indie band Gomez said that “when it comes to quality of life, music is fundamental,” but added that “being a touring musician is getting harder.”

The panel followed the launch of UK Music’s major new report, Securing Our Talent Pipeline, which was covered by the Sun on Sunday, New Statesman and Financial Times.

The report showed an overall decline in music in education, with 50 per cent of children at independent schools receiving sustained music tuition, while the figure for state schools is a mere 15 per cent.

It also found 17 per cent of music creators went to fee-paying schools, compared with seven per cent in the general population.

It is important that established artists continue to make music and inspire fans yet if we want to produce the stars of the future, we’ve got to invest in talent for the future.

You can read the full report here.

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