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Venues Day: John Spellar in push for UK-wide agent of change

UK Music has recruited MP and former minister John Spellar as it bids to enshrine the agent-of-change principle in UK law

By IQ on 18 Oct 2017

Michael Dugher, John Spellar MP, Venues Day 2017

Speller (right) speaks at Venues Day, as Dugher looks on

Michael Dugher, the chief executive of UK Music, yesterday unveiled fresh plans to protect music venues threatened with closure.

Speaking at Music Venue Trust’s fourth Venues Day event at Ministry of Sound in London, Dugher said the the umbrella organisation had partnered with Labour MP John Spellar to push in parliament a radical plan to enshrine the agent-of-change principle – which would require property developers to take into account pre-existing businesses, like music venues, before proceeding with a project – in UK law.

Since last May, agent of change is already included in planning guidance in England, but is not compulsory. The proposed new law would would place a burden on the developer to make sure solutions are in place to mitigate the potential impact of their scheme on existing businesses across the entire United Kingdom, including Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

Spellar will outline the measures in a backbench ‘ten-minute rule’ bill later this year and hopes to win government support for the legislation.

“I hope everyone will join UK Music in our battle to get agent of change on to the statue book”

“Enshrining agent of change in law would be a critical weapon to help music venues across the UK in their fight for survival,” says Dugher. “The threat from developers, along with soaring business rates and licensing regulations, could prove a lethal cocktail for many venues unless we work together to help them survive and thrive.

“In particular, these are challenging times for small and grassroots venues which play a crucial role in nurturing new talent and helping artists get their big break. I hope everyone will join UK Music in our battle to get agent of change on to the statue book so we can ensure the continued vibrancy and diversity of our fantastic music venues.”

Spellar adds: “I’m delighted to be working with UK Music to win support for the agent-of-change principle.

More than 30 million people attended live music events last year at venues across the UK. The live music industry makes a major contribution to both our economy, employment and our culture. It must be safeguarded.”


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