UK Music has welcomed the Chancellor’s Budget, but called for reassurances on business rates, licensing and support for music in schools to support our talent pipeline.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond MP announced to the House of Commons a number of measures including:-
- £400 million in year bonus for schools to pay for new equipment.
- Third off business rates for retailers over next two years if their rateable value is under £51k.
- Introduction of a Digital Services Tax.
- Proposals to boost apprenticeships at small firms
Commenting, UK Music CEO Michael Dugher said: ‘The Government’s Budget is potentially good news for the music industry, but important reassurances are needed in a number of areas to support our talent pipeline that is the key to music’s £4.4 billion contribution to the British economy.
UK Music called for a review of music funding in state schools to halt the spiral of decline that is the current worrying situation in state education. The Chancellor’s decision to provide schools with new funds could offer much needed short term relief, providing that this can be invested in new music facilities and instruments.
But ensuring that children from all backgrounds have access to music, including instruments, is not about providing ‘little extras’. Music should be a right and an opportunity for children to experience everywhere.
The cut in business rates for small retailers is welcome. The Government must ensure that music venues and studios, who have in recent years faced huge hikes in business rates, stand to benefit from this.
We welcome the proposals to incentivise small firms to take on more apprentices. The music industry is an important provider of jobs and we remain commited to providing more good quality apprenticeships.
Plans announced to liberalise the planning system in order to turn commercial properties into residential accommodation must also be carried out with full regard to the ‘Agent of Change’ principle to protect music venues. This must not be an opportunity for developers seeking more residential building to ride roughshod over struggling, pre-existing music businesses. We need measures that make things easier, not harder, to nurture and grow the nighttime economy.
It is absolutely right that tech giants should pay more tax to the UK. We look forward to working with the Government in the development of this to ensure it is carefully designed and does not turn into an online sales tax.’