Plans to make some parents pay for their children’s music lessons will take the county back to Victorian times, a top Eisteddfod official has warned.

Speaking as the annual cultural event is held in the county,  chairman of this year’s National Eisteddfod Trystan Lewis said he was very concerned about budget changes that will see schools lose their  £327,000 delegated budget for music lessons.

The cut is set to save the county £266,000 a year, members of the council’s cabinet meeting next Tuesday will be told.

Under the planned cuts the remainder of the withdrawn budget is to be used to offer free tuition to children eligible for free school meals and a music service funded by parental payments will then be offered in all Conwy schools.

Mr Lewis, who is also a county councillor, said said: “It’s very worrying and very timely at this year’s National Eisteddfod that we are looking at cuts in the music services in Conwy when we see that coming through in the National Eisteddfod.

“Especially in the instrumental section because we are going back to the Victorian days where music will be an elitist thing for the people who are privileged and have money.

“What we’ve had for the last 150 years in Wales is generation after generation of people, no matter what their background and financial situation having a chance to develop their music skills. And not only becoming professional musicians but alongside their normal career. So it’s very, very worrying and it’s going to effect the National Eisteddfod greatly.”

A consultation on the move has been carried out with schools in the county with just over half raising similar fears to Cllr Lewis’ that music lessons would only be taken up by those whose parents could afford them.

If approved the budget will be withdrawn from schools from April 2020 to meet savings target of £250,000.

At the moment schools get money based on the umber of music tuition hours the school recorded on the September census meaning not all schools get the budget.

Cllr Julie Fallon, the cabinet member for education, said: “It is regrettable there is a need to consider cuts in the budget available for music tuition in schools. It is clear from the report that there is inequality in the way the budget is currently delegated and that there is inconsistency in the charges made by schools for music tuition. This is an opportunity to make a saving and to make the charging for music tuition in schools more transparent.”