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Umbrella organisation UK Music has called the chancellor’s Spring Statement a “missed opportunity” to ease business rates for grassroots venues
By Anna Grace on 14 Mar 2019
UK Music chief executive Michael Dugher has called chancellor of the exchequer Philip Hammond’s Spring Statement a “missed opportunity” to help grassroots venues, but vows to continue campaigning.
Dugher, along with Labour’s shadow culture minister Kevin Brennan, met chancellor Hammond in February for urgent talks regarding business rates relief for grassroots music venues.
The music industry representatives urged Hammond to ensure live music venues benefit from the new business rates retail discount that applies to pubs, restaurants and other small businesses.
Senior politicians from across the main British political parties have shown support for the campaign to make grassroots venues eligible for business rates rebates, but action has yet to be taken.
The 2017 revaluation of business rates – the tax levied on non-residential property in the UK – resulted in a 31% increase in business rates payable by grassroots venues. A UK Live Music Census showed that 33% of small music venues reported that the increases had an ‘extreme, strong or moderate’ impact on their existence.
“The chancellor missed a great opportunity with his Spring Statement to give some much-needed help to hard-pressed grassroots music venues”
“The chancellor missed a great opportunity with his Spring Statement to give some much-needed help to hard-pressed grassroots music venues,” comments Dugher, who says it is “ludicrous” to classify pubs and clubs as “not similar” to music venues.
“Our chance of developing future talent is put in jeopardy if performers cannot find a place to play, nurture their talent and grow their audience. Supporting grassroots venues must be a key part of the government’s industrial strategy for music,” adds Dugher, urging the chancellor to rethink his policy.
UK Music welcomes the chancellor’s announcement that a £700 million package will be rolled out from next month to help small and medium-sized enterprises invest in apprenticeships
The umbrella organisation also welcomes new investment in cities and city regions, following UK Music’s work with city region mayors to support the night-time economy across the UK.