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Business Rates for Grassroots Music Venues Have Been Slashed

Following intensive lobbying from across the UK music industry, the Government have announced details of a 50% reduction in business rates for small and medium sized grassroots music venues.

Photograph of musician playing electric guitar on stage with smokey background and lights of various colours.
The announcement means an average reduction in overheads of £7,500 per year for the 230 grassroots music venues likely to be affected

The announcement will mean £1.7 million released back into the grassroots live music sector – an average reduction in overheads of £7,500 per year for the 230 grassroots music venues likely to be affected.

This is a welcome arrival as Independent Venue Week kicks off today, 27 January in a celebration of all that grassroots music venues have to offer.

This news follows years of lobbying from the MU, Music Venue Trust and many other organisations and individuals.

Other recent wins for grassroots venues include a newly ring-fenced Arts Council England budget for grassroots venues created in 2019, and the introduction of the Agent of Change Principle into the Government’s National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) for England.

Upholding the UK’s world-renowned reputation for music

MU Live and Music Writers Official Kelly Wood described just how important protecting these venues is for the UK music industry as a whole:

“The MU welcomes this news and is pleased to see the Government finally respond to the needs of the grassroots music venues.

“Small venues play a crucial role in the UK by offering stages, audiences and support to artists at all stages of their careers. Furthermore, these venues uphold the UK’s world-renowned reputation for music, and ensure that there is a constant and diverse flow of artists into all areas of the music industry.“

More support needed in an increasingly tough climate

However, Wood warned that further lobbying is still needed to protect this essential part of the UK’s music culture:

“Whilst this development represents significant progress, it is by no means enough to afford venues the support and protection that they need to continue operating in an increasingly tough climate where news of threats to venues and closures has sadly become commonplace.

“With this in mind, the MU will continue to lobby for the necessary legislative or broader action that can be taken to allow venues to continue offering artists great opportunities and key access to the wider music industry.

“Our work, as part of UK Music and alongside Music Venue Trust, will help to ensure that grassroots venues remain an enjoyable, regular and viable part of our members’ careers.”

Fair Play Venues

Did you know about the MU’s Fair Play Venue database? It houses an extensive list of venues in the UK which have signed up to our Fair Play Venue scheme, agreeing to offer performing musicians a fair deal.

The database contains details on each individual venue, as well as what they’re looking for in the musicians they hire, and the best way to go about getting a gig there.

Have a look today, and filter venues by region to find a place to play where you can be certain of getting a fair deal.

Published: 27/01/2020

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