Benedetti hits sour note on funding for students


SCOTTISH violinist Nicola Benedetti has warned that government funding cuts are preventing talented young artists getting to university.

The star said it was “frightening” that some “promising and exciting” students from poorer backgrounds were being denied a proper education.

She spoke out at the launch of the Nicola Benedetti Scholarship Fund, which will help fund students to take Italian Studies at Edinburgh University.

Asked about the importance of financing arts students, she said: “It’s a frightening situation that sometimes the more talented and eager students aren’t able to be studying those subjects because of financial reasons.

“If I can ever make an ounce of difference to that situation I would always take that step.”

He added: “I think it’s quite terrifying that it’s not always the most promising and exciting students that really get the chance to study.

“The cultural sector is really being affected by a lot of cuts at the moment. I think any extra help culture and music can get is definitely necessary because unfortunately it’s not always the biggest priority for people.”

Benedetti is arguably Scotland’s greatest living Classical music star and is an advocate for the study of cultural subjects.

Both of Nicola’s parents are Italian and although she was born and grew up in Scotland, she has remained passionate about the country she calls home.

She said: “Being a musician myself and working in the cultural sphere, Italy is a country that not only I always loved because I felt it was my country but I have grown to love more and more through visits and mainly for cultural reasons.

“I love the food and the people and everything about the country but the architecture, the halls the theatres the beauty in everything, the Renaissance art, the museums, it’s one of the most beautiful places to visit.”

Miss Benedetti’s comments come at a time of swingeing Government cuts that are having a huge impact across the UK, particularly to students.

The National Union of Students in Scotland welcomed Miss Benedetti’s intervention. They said Scottish students receive some of the lowest levels of financial support in the UK and also have the highest drop-out rate.

Liam Burns, President of NUS Scotland, said: “Scotland has some of the lowest levels of student support in the UK and so it’s no surprise that we also have one of the worst records for numbers of students dropping out and a poor record on widening access to university to people from all backgrounds.”

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