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MVT shares manifesto ahead of UK general election

As the UK prepares to go to the polls on 4 July, the charity is calling upon politicians to “seize the moment” and save the grassroots sector

By James Hanley on 11 Jun 2024

Mark Davyd

The Music Venue Trust (MVT) has published a report entitled, ‘A Manifesto for Grassroots Music’ ahead of the UK General Election on 4 July.

The report, which can be found here, outlines the steps the charity says are required in order to stem the closures of grassroots music venues (GMVs) and bring stability to the sector.

Calling it “a once in a generation opportunity to save the UK’s grassroots music venues”, the report emphasises the need to implement the recent Culture Media & Sport Select Committee recommendations for the wider live music industry to invest in the future of grassroots music via a £1 contribution from every arena and stadium ticket sold for events over 5,000 capacity.

“The manifesto is being delivered to every prospective MP in the country with the request that they come out in support of it as part of their campaign to be elected,” says Sophie Brownlee, the MVT’s external affairs manager. “Music communities across the country will also be asking the candidates where they stand on the future of live music in our towns and cities. The time to act is now.”

“We have a chance to save UK grassroots music venues from the crisis they currently face and we should not let it slip”

The other key areas highlighted in the report are for a fan-led review to fully examine the long-term challenges to the live music ecosystem and the agent of change principle in the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) to be put on a statutory footing at the earliest opportunity.

In addition, it is calling for a reduction in VAT on cultural ticketing in GMVs to 0% and reduce VAT on cultural ticketing in the live music industry to the European average (5-7%), as well as the creation of a specific business rates premises definition for GMVs and the removal of properties satisfying that definition from the requirement to pay business rates.

“In 2023, of the 366 small music venues Ed Sheeran played while learning his trade, at least 150 are now closed,” says MVT CEO Mark Davyd. “Another 72 grassroots music venues significantly reduced or ended their live music offer. 38% of GMVs in the UK made a loss in the last 12 months. The sector operated on a 0.5% profit margin overall while running live music events at a £115 million loss.

“All of this can be changed if the next government delivers the five simple steps we have set out in this report. We therefore call on all political representatives, from all parties, to seize the moment and drive forward this change. We have a chance to save UK grassroots music venues from the crisis they currently face and we should not let it slip.”


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