Grassroots music venues have reacted with relief to the Autumn Statement, which signalled the continuation of business rates relief, under which they receive a 75% discount.
The potential cancellation of relief had been predicted to send hundreds of music venues off a cliff edge. Co-chair of the Association of Independent Promoters, Luke Hinton – who also runs the indie promotion company Juicebox Live and programmes both The Horn and Hertford Corn Exchange – told Big Issue’s Venue Watch campaign “we would probably lose something like 75-80% of venues within two years” had rates gone back to 100%.
Mark Davyd, CEO and founder of Music Venue Trust had been warning of a “potential meltdown for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses and jobs”.
“Music Venue Trust warmly welcomes the continuation of the 75% relief to business rates for grassroots music venues announced by the chancellor, Jeremy Hunt, in the Autumn statement,” said Davyd, following the announcement. “It was essential to keep this relief in place and we are pleased that our presentations to Treasury were listened to and acknowledged by this outcome.
“We hope that this further extension into 2025 for this relief will provide the necessary window of opportunity for the government to complete the full review of business rates on grassroots music venues which it committed to in January 2019.”
Jon Collins, CEO of LIVE, the voice of the UK’s live music industry, also praised the move, emphasising how important music is to the UK economy. “The UK’s live music industry is an engine of growth, generating £5.2bn in 2022 and employing over 228,000 people last year, with a gig held every four minutes,” he said.