UK Music CEO Michael Dugher has welcomed a shake-up of business rates as a “vital lifeline” for grassroots music venues.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s new government will conduct a fundamental review of business rates. The proposal was among a raft of legislative proposals unveiled in the Queen’s Speech.
The overhaul of business rates will see the retail discount increased from one-third to 50%, extending that discount to cinemas and music venues for the first time. The policy was a feature of the Conservative election campaign as part of its plan to boost towns and high streets. Music retail could also benefit from the tax break.
UK Music has fought a campaign to end the discrimination against music venues, which have not enjoyed the same discount as other businesses such as pubs and clubs.
Dugher said: “This is a huge victory for common sense and, most importantly, for music venues who will welcome this early Christmas present. Cutting business rates for music venues cannot happen soon enough. This change will prove a vital lifeline for venues that are at the heart of many communities.
“UK Music has been relentless in pushing the Government for this change and we’re delighted that there will be a level playing field for music venues. We welcome the Government’s proposals for more frequent revaluations to ensure business rates bills are more up-to-date and reflect the current rental value of a property.
Dugher added: “Our thanks in particular go to DCMS minister Nigel Adams, who has been a consistent and staunch supporter of grassroots music venues.
“We will be talking to Government ministers and officials in the coming weeks to try to get these important change in place as swiftly as possible.”
Dugher also highlighted proposed measures outlined in the Queen’s Speech to cover online harms as an important area for the music industry.
“These changes should incorporate economic harms perpetrated online which can have a huge negative impact on jobs and businesses in the music industry and other sectors,” he said.