The Music Venue Trust (MVT) has warned the government that the UK grassroots scene requires an immediate £50 million cash injection to prevent mass closures in July, August and September.
The MVT has identified a sector-specific rescue package as being fundamental to the survival of a large number of venues and is also proposing a one-off VAT cut on ticket sales for the next three years for venues and promoters. It added that 90% of venues and festivals were currently facing permanent closure due to the "catastrophic" effect of the Covid-19 shutdown.
It is economically short sighted and frankly ridiculous to put a £5 billion a year industry at long term risk for lack of a short term £50m investment
Music Venue Trust
CEO Mark Dayvd said: “When we eventually emerge from lockdown, grassroots music venues, the absolute bedrock, the foundations, the cornerstone on which our world beating £5.2 billion per year industry has been built, are going to be essential to live music bouncing back. It is therefore economically short sighted and frankly ridiculous to put a £5 billion a year industry at long term risk for lack of a short term £50 million investment.”
The UK has the highest rate of VAT on tickets for cultural events for any similar country in Europe and the proposed cut would ease the financial pressure on the sector as it returns to normality.
MVT's #saveourvenues campaign, launched in April, has so far raised over £2m to help support grassroots music venues through the coronavirus crisis.
"The generosity shown towards our #saveourvenues campaign since we launched it in April has been staggering," said Davyd. "The £2m we have raised to date has saved literally hundreds of venues in the short term, but the situation is still dire and relying on donations simply isn’t sustainable as we move into a recovery phase. With that in mind let's act now and protect what we have, because what we have is incredible and it is ridiculous to put ourselves in the position where we might permanently lose it for less than 1% of the income it generates for us every single year. £50 million in financial support and a temporary tax cut, that's all we are asking.
"Who loses if this doesn’t happen? Not just the venues, not just the artists, not just the audiences, not just our communities. The government is the biggest loser of all here; billions of pounds of future tax revenues is on the line. Every other serious cultural country in the world is acting to protect its future talent pipeline.... and they don't even have the incredible talent and the vibrant pipeline we have in the UK. We need our government to step up we need them to do it now.”