My second point is that we have not properly considered the role of orchestras in a regional environment. This is perhaps the greatest criticism that can be made against the reductions, their regional impacts. There have been a few small incisions in London, but the effect of reducing symphony and light music orchestras in the regions will be disproportionate to similar cuts in large urban areas. In the regions, they provide a core of highly skilled and highly unruly musicians. They are a crèche for great instrumentalists, young composers and new music. But they`re more than that. The BBC has announced its intention to restructure its radio production on Radios 1, 2, 3, 4, covering its pop music, single listening, classical edition and vocal edition. The Union agrees to relax the needle time agreements allowing Radio 1 to play more pop records, in exchange for increased employment guarantees for musicians across the network. The BBC`s management is currently defending its decision to reduce regional orchestras on the grounds that, after all, they are second-rate orchestras – they are not the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra or the Concertgebouw – and that many of the 964 people who complain today do not go to their concerts, or, if they do, do not think of them. There`s a grain of truth in there. Beyond the direct loss of jobs, there will be a multiplier effect, well documented in the evidence of the restricted committee and in the debate in Scotland. The Scottish Symphony Orchestra, because it was a domestic orchestra with perhaps not the same financial constraints as other orchestras, was able to air new Scottish works, which no other orchestra could do in Scotland.
It was a training ground for some highly respected conductors. This may underline the importance and value of the orchestra. James Loughran, Alex Gibson, Colin Davis and Simon Rattle are names that come to mind. “The worst-case scenario is that a lot of orchestras are going to close,” she added. “It would be disastrous.” I draw attention to the wonderful example of a company in my riding. The General Accident Insurance Corporation donated a considerable sum to obtain the Scottish orchestra. If only others followed suit, perhaps we could find a way to save the cultural life we so desperately need in Scotland. Scotland desperately needs its orchestras. I recommend that the BBC review its policy and call on the Musicians` Union to be more flexible in its position. I would like to ask the government to look carefully at its funding policy for the BBC. I do not think that this dispute, when it is an argument, has been properly sketched out by the Minister of State.
The BBC`s management deliberately and deliberately cancelled an agreement it freely concluded just over a year ago. Management was reminded by the musicians` union representative during a discussion earlier this month that it was only a little over a year since the union and management agreed that musical employment expenses could be reduced by $240,000, provided an agreement could be reached.