"Venues and studios need help now": Michael Dugher responds to Chancellor Philip Hammond's Spring Statement

UK Music chief executive Michael Dugher has urged Chancellor Philip Hammond to “press fast forward” over his review of business rates.

Hammond’s planned revaluation of business rates - issued during his Spring Statement on March 13 - would be brought forward a year to 2021, and be followed by revaluations every three years, with the next taking place in 2024.

In September 2017, Dugher demanded that the Chancellor order an urgent review in the Budget of business rates in order to protect thousands of music venues and studios. While UK Music welcomed the decision to bring forward the revalution by one year, it also stressed that the move fell well short of the urgently-needed review to help thousands of businesses in the UK music industry.

Speaking about the revaluation, Mr Dugher said: “Many music venues and studios are still reeling from the huge hikes in business rates following last year’s revaluation. Venues and studios need help now and can’t afford to wait until 2021. We need an urgent review of the disproportionate rates many venues and studios face if we are to maintain our vibrant and diverse music scene. The Chancellor needs to press the fast forward button and make that happen.

“It is plainly unfair,” continued Dugher. “For example, that one small venue – the Lexington in north London - has to endure a rise of 118% in its rateable value yet Arsenal FC’s 60,000-capacity Emirates Stadium nearby enjoyed a 7% cut in its rateable value.”

UK Music did welcome a separate initiative by the Chancellor to provide £80 million for small and medium businesses to recruit apprentices, which Dugher said would help music companies when recruiting and upskilling their workforce.

You can read Music Week's comprehensive cover interview with Michael Dugher here.

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