Dedicated to the Business of Contemporary Live Music

Budget has ‘short-changed’ venues, says UK Music chief

2 December 2017
Michael Dugher

THE HEAD of industry umbrella organisation UK Music says measures announced in the Budget have left venues feeling “short-changed”, and he wants details from Government about how they will help venues.

Ahead of the budget, former Labour MP Michael Dugher had urged chancellor Phillip Hammond to review business rates, claiming a revaluation earlier this year had left many venues struggling – among them The Lexington (cap. 200) in north London, which has seen its rateable value rise 118 per cent.

In his budget the chancellor said he would bring forward a planned business rates’ switch from the Retail Price Index (RPI) to the Consumer Price Index (CPI) by two years to April 2018, citing the move would save companies £2.3 billion. Although Dugher welcomes this step, he says more needs to be done.

“This fails to address the immediate concerns of the music industry where venues and studios are still reeling from rises,” says Dugher.

“Many venues will feel short-changed by the chancellor. We need a review of the rates many venues and studios face, if we are to maintain our vibrant and diverse music scene.”

A report complied by the research consultancy Nordicity for the Mayor of London earlier this year, claimed 21 of London’s grassroots venues were at risk of closure due to business rates increases, and venues would need to raise ticket and drink prices to cope. However, when contacted by LIVE UK, Nordicity declined to reveal the names of any venues at risk, due to what it describes as “business sensitivities”.

Meanwhile in an effort to protect the capital’s venues, Khan has included the agent of change principle in his new planning strategy. This would mean developers need to take into consideration the impact of a new scheme on existing businesses, including music venues, pubs and shops, making them liable for soundproofing and other solutions.

The Mayor’s draft London Plan is open to consultation and comes into effect in autumn 2019.

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