Government playing right tune on music venues, says MU

The Musicians’ Union has welcomed the government’s announcement of a 50% reduction in business rates for small and medium sized grassroots music venues.

The announcement, which follows intensive lobbying from across the UK music industry, will mean £1.7 million released back into the grassroots live music sector – an average reduction in overheads of £7,500 per year for the 230 grassroots music venues likely to be affected.

It is especially timely with today being the start of Independent Venue Week and a celebration of all that grassroots music venues have to offer.

MU live and music writers’ official Kelly Wood said: “The MU welcomes this significant rates reduction and is pleased to see the government finally respond to the needs of the grassroots music venues. Small venues play a crucial role in the UK by offering stages, audiences and support to artists at all stages of their careers.

“Furthermore, these venues uphold the UK’s world-renowned reputation for music and ensure that there is a constant and diverse flow of artists into all areas of the music industry.”

However, she warned that further lobbying is still needed to protect this essential part of the UK’s music culture, adding: “Whilst this development represents significant progress, it is by no means enough to afford venues the support and protection that they need to continue operating in an increasingly tough climate, where news of threats to venues and closures has sadly become commonplace.

“The MU will therefore continue to lobby for the necessary legislative or broader action that can be taken to allow venues to continue offering artists great opportunities and key access to the wider music industry. Our work, as part of UK Music and alongside Music Venue Trust, will help to ensure that grassroots venues remain an enjoyable, regular and viable part of our members’ careers.”

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