The government has announced a serious cut in business rates required by 230 small and medium sized venues.
The change will apply to all music venues across the UK with a rateable value below £51,000, across England and Wales. It will provide a massive boost to the music industry which has seen lots of businesses closing in recent years.
The Music Venue Trust estimates each site will see an average saving of £7,500 per year, bringing £1.7m back into the live music sector. Independent cinemas are likely to also see benefits from this action.
This move been praised from all sides:
Beverley Whitrick, strategic director, Music Venue Trust says it is a “much needed and long overdue boost”.
Nathan Clark, Brudenell Social Club, Leeds said: “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.”
Mark Davyd, CEO and founder, Music Venue Trust said: “We look forward to working with the governments in Scotland and Northern Ireland to make sure that grassroots music venues across the UK have a level playing field when it comes to business rates and public subsidies.”
High business rates and noise restrictions, along with increases in royalty collections and changes to drinking habits are thought to be to blame for an industry fighting to survive over the last decade. The last decade has seen 35% of grassroots music venues across England and Wales close.
A survey found a third of small music venues (with a capacity of up to 350 people) found high business rates cause “extreme, strong or moderate” impact in the past 12 months.
This reduction will no doubt be a huge benefit to these venues.