Jeremy Corbyn hails Dundee’s Sistema orchestra project as he outlines his arts policy

Jeremy Corbyn applauding Dundee's arts sector before addressing a rally at the Marryat Hall.
Jeremy Corbyn applauding Dundee's arts sector before addressing a rally at the Marryat Hall.

Jeremy Corbyn has hailed Dundee for leading the way in the arts revolution he wants to take place across the UK.

The Labour leader announced plans to give all primary schools in England extra cash to fund arts activities at Edinburgh’s Fringe Festival. This would see money added to Holyrood’s budget.

During a visit to Dundee, where addressed a 250-strong rally at the Marryat Hall, the Islington MP praised the securing of £2.2 million for Sistema Scotland’s to open its fourth Big Noise Orchestra in the city’s Douglas area.

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Mr Corbyn told The Courier: “This policy is about releasing people’s potential so I was delighted to hear today that Dundee is joining other areas in Scotland in having a Sistema orchestra.

“Access to the arts can enrich not just people’s lives, but our economy too, as many people in Dundee will be aware.

“It’s exactly this sort of scheme and practice that we need to build upon and expand.

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“My arts policy that I announced today is part of my plans to rebuild and transform our country, so that no one and no community is left behind.”

The children’s orchestra is credited with rejuvenating some of Scotland’s most disadvantaged communities and it is hoped that hundreds of children will benefit from access to free music lessons.

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The city also has vibrant creative industries through Dundee University’s Duncan of Jordanstone art college, the Rep and DCA, its publishing history, the forthcoming arrival of the V&A Museum of Design and more.

Mr Corbyn pledged to raise government spending on the arts in line with the European average and boost participation among low-income groups.

The Labour leader, who is being challenged for his job by fellow MP Owen Smith, drew rapturous applause from supporters during his rally in the city.

His speech touched on various themes, including the NHS, blacklisting, human rights and attempting to unite the Labour Party.

Neil Findlay, his campaign chair in Scotland, also spoke at the event chaired by Dundee Labour Trade Union Coordinating Group coordinator Jim Malone.

Earlier in the day, Mr Corbyn claimed he does not consider himself wealthy despite earning five times the average worker’s wage.

His salary as MP for Islington is just under £75,000 this year, but he is also entitled to an additional £63,000 as leader of the opposition, giving a total of £138,000.

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