Boost for grassroots venues as government slashes business rates

Boost for grassroots venues as government slashes business rates

Hundreds of venues in England and Wales are set to receive a 50% reduction in business rates.

The announcement by the government for small and medium grassroots venues will release more than £1.7 million back into the sector.

The news has been welcomed by the Music Venue Trust, which has campaigned on the issue. It estimates 35% of grassroots venues were lost in the last decade.

Beverley Whitrick, strategic director, Music Venue Trust, said: “This is a much needed and long overdue boost for grassroots music venues. Music Venue Trust has been working hard with government on this issue for the last four years and it is a huge breakthrough for us and the members of the Music Venues Alliance. We’d like to thank our partners at UK Music and Musicians’ Union for their support and help in getting this over the line.”

CEO and founder Mark Davyd added: “Government, the cultural sector and the live music industry have all acted in the last 12 months to address the crisis in this sector. It’s now time for recording, streaming and publishing interests to play their part. Billions of pounds in revenue are being generated in the music industry from the music that is tested, developed, finds its audience and emerges from these vital spaces. PRS for Music, PPL, Universal, Warners, Sony, Spotify, Apple and Google now need to come to the table and tell us what they are going to do to make sure that continues to happen.”

The issue of business rates was highlighted in a debate in Parliament last week.

The extension of the relief will see 230 grassroots music venues across England and Wales benefit, with the average saving per venue equating to a reduction in overheads of £7,500 per annum. 

“This is fantastic news for our team at the venue and for our local music community,” said Dom Frazer, of The Boileroom in Guildford. “We invest every penny we can spare into supporting new and emerging artists and this much needed reduction gives us more freedom to do that. This news really demonstrates the value of an organisation like Music Venue Trust that can speak up for Grassroots music venues.” 

Nathan Clark, of Brudenell Social Club, said: “We are overjoyed to hear this much overdue news of support to music venues. Steps made by Music Venue Trust to help recognise the cultural importance of our places and impact on the community is invaluable. This reduction of business rates supports an ability to reinvest, helping new and emerging artists, create accessible events, and further support a vibrant, but financially strained environment for the wider community. 

Rebecca Walker, of Sheffield Leadmill, said: “Business Rates are one of our largest annual overheads. Thanks to the incredible work of all of the MVT team, this significant reduction will really help us to invest in not only music and the arts, but the staff and infrastructure needed to continue putting on great shows for the people of Sheffield.”

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