Music Venue Trust calls on UK government to extend business rate relief for grassroots music venues

Venues Closing at Rate of More Than One a Week with 4000 Job Losses in Last 12 Months


Music Venue Trust

Music Venue Trust (MVT), the charity which represents almost 900 UK grassroots music venues (GMVs), has called on the UK Government to extend business rate relief for its members following the results of its annual survey, which found that closures are currently taking place at a rate of more than one week.

Following lobbying by Music Venue Trust and others Chancellor Rishi Sunak created a 50% rate relief specific to GMVs in January 2020 and in March 2020 it was zero rated for the entire retail, hospitality, and leisure sector as a result of the pandemic. Further concessions were then extended across these sectors in 2021, 2022 and 2023 and as a result GMV’s currently enjoy a 75% business rate relief.

Following a recent announcement that these reliefs are to end in April 2024 - which MVT has calculated would impose an additional £15 million of costs on the sector - pleas are being made to the UK Government to extend the current arrangements and to carry out a radical reform of the business rates to prevent a further decline of the GMV sector, which according to the organization’s recent annual survey saw 78 venues permanently close in the last 12 months at a rate of more than one a week.

Mark Davyd, CEO of Music Venue Trust said, “The current business rates system is anachronistic, inconsistent, and outdated and fails to meet the principles of good tax design. The UK Government is currently conducting a consultation on wider reforms but the solutions they have so far proposed are in no way radical enough to redress fundamental inequalities that will lead to many more venue closures. We are already losing GMVs at a catastrophic rate, which has had a knock-on effect of 4000 jobs losses, the removal of 14,250 live music events & 193,230 performance opportunities for musicians, £9m of musician income and £59m of economic activity. By extending business rates relief past next April the government could throw a vital lifeline to GMV’s already holding onto survival by their fingertips.”

September 26, 2023 3:00am ET by Pressparty  

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