UK Music boss brands Chancellor’s Spring Statement a ‘missed opportunity’

UK Music’s chief executive officer Michael Dugher has vowed to continue the campaign to support grassroots venues faced with crippling business rates despite the Chancellor’s Spring Statement being a ‘missed opportunity.’

With grassroots venues forming a key part of the music industry’s ecosystem, which contributes £4.5bn a year to the UK economy, UK Music will persist with their drive for a government rethink on the business rates’ overhaul that discriminates against grassroots music venues.

The retail discount scheme, which was announced in the 2018 Autumn Budget, discounts grassroots music venues by stating they are ‘not similar in nature’ to pubs and clubs.

Since the business rate revaluation those venues have suffered a 31 percent increase in the rates they pay, and subsequently the Music Venue Trust has reported that 35 percent of grassroots venues have closed over the past decade.

Meanwhile, UK Music has welcomed the Chancellor’s announcement that £700 million will be available to small and medium-sized enterprises to help them invest in apprenticeships in the coming months.

Michael Dugher, chief executive officer, UK Music said: ‘The Chancellor missed a great opportunity with his Spring Statement to give some much-needed help to hard-pressed grassroots music venues.

‘It’s ludicrous for the Government to say that grassroots music venues are ‘not similar’ to pubs and clubs. We will keep pressing the Chancellor to listen to UK Music, the Music Venue Trust and senior MPs from across the political spectrum who want him to urgently rethink this policy.

‘Our chance of developing future talent is put in jeopardy if performers cannot find a place to play to nurture their talent and grow their audience. Supporting grassroots venues must be a key part of the Government’s industrial strategy for music.’