Palma.—The City Council formally approved its Budget for 2012 yesterday but despite the lobbying presence of 50 members of the Balearic Symphony Orchestera, 32 percent of the Orchestra's current funding was officially cut.

Tax and Economy Councillor Julio Martinez said at the meeting in a debate which centred around the financial future of the Symphony Orchestra that the budget figure of 535 million euros (to include public companies) “had been the most complicated ever to be handled in the history of Spain's democracy”. He explained that the present City Council had had to assume a debt of 32 million euros inherited from the previous government.

Sebastia Pou, Secretary of the Works Committee read a prepared statement in which he said that many Spanish regions have more than one orchestra to support, including Madrid with four and Barcelona and Tenerife with two each. “Supporting just one in the Balearics should not present a problem” Pou claimed, pointing to the work the Orchestra has done for regional education and tourism.

The Orchestra's campaign to retain its level of public funding has had international support, including that of the world famous baritone Joan Pons and Mediterranean folk singer Maria del Mar Bonet. The campaign has also had an airing on Spain's Telecinco.

Despite the Council's voicing its commitment to culture, the 32 percent cut in the Orchestra's funding was finally announced and members left in silent protest. Their fight to survive continues however, with a free concert to be staged in Plaza Major today at 12 noon.


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