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Scottish govt dedicates £2.2m to grassroots venues

Scottish grassroots music venues have received a £2.2 million boost from the government, following concerns that a previously announced £10m fund for performing arts venues neglected the commercial sector.

The fund, announced by Scotland’s culture secretary Fiona Hyslop last week, aims to provide “immediate support” and “much-needed stability” to grassroots venues in the coming weeks.

The Scottish government had been involved in ongoing discussions with the Music Venue Trust (MVT), who had stressed the need for sector-specific funding for grassroots music venues in Scotland.

“We are delighted to have agreed this funding with the Scottish Government, and we thank them very much for their commitment to grassroots music venues,” comments Nick Stewart, MVT’s Scottish co-ordinator and manager of Edinburgh venue Sneaky Pete’s.

“This funding will stabilise venues in the short term and prevent permanent closures, and we can begin to plan towards reopening every venue safely.”

“This funding will stabilise venues in the short term and prevent permanent closures, and we can begin to plan towards reopening every venue safely”

MVT, along with other members of the Scottish live industry, had previously raised concerns that a £10m relief fund for performing arts venues in the country did not benefit the for-profit sector.

An open letter sent to the culture sector by a newly formed Scottish commercial music industry taskforce, which includes representatives from promoters DF Concerts, Regular Music, ATC Live, Fly Events, Active Events, Craft Management, A Modern Way Management, Ironworks Venue, Asgard and Sneaky Petes, asked the the government to “fulfill the Music Venue Trust and the Scottish members of the Music Venues Alliance’s request for specific funding for grassroots music venues”, noting “a lack of consultation with the commercial music sector”.

In the letter, which was also signed by artists including Biffy Clyro, KT Tunstall, Simple Minds, the Proclaimers and Primal Scream, the task force urged the government to provide a “clear, conditional timeline” for reopening venues without social distancing and to establish a culture and creative industries infrastructure fund with the £97m earmarked for Scotland from the UK government’s £1.57 billion arts and culture rescue package.

The taskforce was also among those to call for a value-added tax (VAT) exemption on ticket sales, days before the UK government’s reduction in VAT on concert tickets from 20% to 5%.



This article forms part of IQ’s Covid-19 resource centre – a knowledge hub of essential guidance and updating resources for uncertain times.

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