Music Venue Trust (MVT), which represents hundreds of grassroots music venues, has issued an urgent warning to the UK government that an immediate cash injection of £50m is needed to prevent mass closures in July, August and September.
The catastrophic effects of closure during the COVID-19 pandemic has led to MVT identifying a sector-specific rescue package as being fundamental to the survival of a large number of its member venues.
In addition, they are proposing a one-off cut in VAT on ticket sales for the next three years for venues and promoters.
The live music industry in the UK, which generates £5.2bn for the UK economy and a further £2.7bn in export revenues, is facing a substantial loss of infrastructure, with 90% of venues and festivals currently facing permanent closure. This would result in the total collapse of the sector and thousands of job cuts including promoters, production companies, managers, agents, artists and others, which form part of an inter-dependent eco-system that is the UK music industry, alongside the loss of very substantial VAT and income tax receipts by HM Government.
Mark Dayvd, CEO of Music Venue Trust, said, “When we eventually emerge from lockdown, grassroots music venues, the absolute bedrock, the foundations, the cornerstone on which our world beating £5.2 billion per year industry has been built, are going to be essential to live music bouncing back. It is therefore economically short sighted and frankly ridiculous to put a £5 billion a year industry at long term risk for lack of a short term £50 million investment.”
The UK also has the highest rate of VAT on tickets for cultural events for any similar country in Europe and this proposed cut would ease the intense financial pressure on the sector as it returns to normality.
Music Venue Trust launched its #saveourvenues campaign in April, which has so far successfully raised over £2m to help support grassroots music venues through this crisis.
Mark Dayvd said, “The generosity shown towards our #saveourvenues campaign since we launched it in April has been staggering. The £2m we have raised to date has saved literally hundreds of venues in the short term, but the situation is still dire and relying on donations simply isn’t sustainable as we move into a recovery phase. With that in mind let’s act now and protect what we have, because what we have is incredible and it is ridiculous to put ourselves in the position where we might permanently lose it for less than 1% of the income it generates for us every single year. £50 million in financial support and a temporary tax cut, that’s all we are asking. Who loses if this doesn’t happen? Not just the venues, not just the artists, not just the audiences, not just our communities. The government is the biggest loser of all here; billions of pounds of future tax revenues is on the line. Every other serious cultural country in the world is acting to protect its future talent pipeline…. and they don’t even have the incredible talent and the vibrant pipeline we have in the UK. We need our government to step up we need them to do it now.”
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