Letter: Rattle fights on

Sir: In light of your report "Rattle to quit Labour's musical desert" (21 December), I wanted to put the record straight.

I do not feel that the UK is an artistic desert, but rather a parched garden in need of attention. It seems that the first drops of water are on their way, given, for example, the much-needed grant increases to some of our orchestras, and the setting up of the Youth Music Trust to start dealing with some of the problems of instrumental teaching provision.

We in the arts community are all a little punch-drunk after years of cuts and freezes, but I hope we are not so damaged that we cannot give credit where it is due. The Government has at least started to do something to repair the damages to the arts in the UK, and we need to welcome that.

There is still much to be done - the latest figures show that over pounds 60m has been lost from music education over the last seven years. I and my colleagues will continue to shout until our companies are healthy once more, and until the grotesque inequalities of educational provision are tackled.

But not all criticism implies opposition - let us encourage the Government to carry on rebuilding the arts, while constantly reminding them to get a move on, before it's too late!

Sir SIMON RATTLE

London, WC2

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