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Glasgow backs off on charges

Mandatory charges for nursery education and music tuition were set to be rejected by Glasgow's education committee yesterday (Thursday) despite the city council's continuing financial crisis.

Under a formula devised by officials, parents would have been charged Pounds 3 a week and families on income support would have paid 50p. Parents from outside the city may yet be charged Pounds 25 a week.

Officials were also recommending that parents pay Pounds 80 a year toward music teaching. But plans to cut the number of peripatetic music instructors from 65 to 50, saving more than Pounds 200,000 this year, will be reviewed. A proposal to axe 35 temporary nursery nurse posts, saving Pounds 280,000 this year, will also be revised.

Councillors were warned that the Labour-controlled authority faces a pre-five budget shortfall of Pounds 340,000 and may have to close some nurseries, shed posts and increase charges if financial targets are to be met this year.

Willie Hart, Glasgow secretary of the Educational Institute of Scotland and teachers' representative on the education committee, said: "It is the principle people object to. They do not want to collect money for a service that was previously provided free." Mr Hart said.

It was acceptable to make contributions to the toy fund and for drinks but it was quite different to pay for a basic service.

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