UK Music calls for budget review as venue business rates soar

Live music - music venue - Photo by Edward Cisneros on Unsplash

UK Music chief executive Michael Dugher has described the Government’s recent business rates revaluation as ‘woefully unjust’ and is demanding that the Chancellor orders an urgent review.

The Chancellor will unveil the forthcoming Budget at the Houses of Parliament on 22 November and is already under pressure to drop a planned four percent rise in business rates next year.

In a letter to the Chancellor, Dugher said: ‘UK Music remains wholly unconvinced by a system, for example, which enables Arsenal Football Club’s Emirates Stadium to receive a seven percent cut in business rates, whereas the nearby Lexington music venue gets hit with an increase of 118 percent.’

He also pointed to London’s Abbey Road Studios, which has experienced a 32 percent tax increase since the Government’s budget revaluation in April, and Manchester Arena which has seen an 80 percent increase.

‘These examples are not isolated to the capital city and demonstrate the vulnerability many high profile venues and studios across the country experience as a result of business rate rises,’ he wrote.

According to the Music Venue Trust charity, around 35 percent of music venues have closed in the past decade.

Commenting on the soaring rate and rent bills faced by venues, Dugher said: ‘The Chancellor must rethink these changes which are woefully unjust and could have a potentially catastrophic impact on some music venues and recording studios.

‘The music industry contributes £4.4 billion to our economy, employs more than 142,000 people and generates exports of £2.5 billion.

‘The Chancellor should use his Budget to make sure the venues and studios that gave artists like Adele, The Beatles and Oasis their big break are not put under threat.’