The Budget: MVT Responds
This was always going to be a very positive budget for Grassroots Music Venues, after the pre-announcement that after four years of campaigning by Music Venue Trust, UK Music and Musicians’ Union, GMVs would finally be getting financial support to tackle the challenge of Business Rates.
Music Venue Trust warmly welcomes additional measures announced by HM Treasury in the Budget to tackle the developing crisis provoked by COVID-19. The announcement of a 100% cut to Business Rates for venues with a Rateable Value under £51,000 for 2020/21 is a very sensible step to protect this vulnerable sector during this current crisis.
We are particularly pleased that alongside the additional cut to Business Rates the challenges COVID-19 presents to the smallest Grassroots Music Venues (many of whom are too small to be in the existing Business Rates system) will be addressed via the Small Business Grant fund, which will provide grants of up to £3000 to manage the emerging negative impacts. We will be contacting all of our venue members to ensure they access the full Business Rate cuts and access grants being made available to them.
However…..this is not all that needs to be done.
1. We particularly draw the attention of Welsh, Scottish and Northern Irish Governments to section 1.72 of the Budget Statement in which the Chancellor confirms that full funding will be made available to the devolved administrations to enable them to replicate these commitments across the whole of the UK with no negative impact on their own budgets. It is essential that every Grassroots Music Venue in the UK is offered this support and we call on Senedd (Welsh Government), Stormont (Northern Ireland Assembly) and Holyrood (The Scottish Parliament) to act swiftly to ensure they deliver these measures in full for their grassroots music communities.
2. It remains the case that too many Grassroots Music Venues in the UK have Rateable Valuations which are simply too high to benefit from either of these measures. Those venues will need additional measures bringing forward to enable them to withstand this crisis. Across the UK there are 132 Grassroots Music Venues in this category. We will continue to consult with national, regional and local government to ensure those Grassroots Music Venues also get the support they need.
3. Crucially, we welcome the commitment to a review of Business Rates to be carried out this year. Music Venue Trust will engage fully with government during this review in the hope that this review will finally result in the creation of an accurate and relevant classification for Grassroots Music Venues that will see an end to all of them, big or small, being unfairly penalised in this outdated system.
Music Venue Trust is monitoring the official Government guidance. In addition, based upon action being taken by governments across Europe, we are advising all Music Venues Alliance members to take immediate steps to understand the risks presented to their venue of a potential period of closure. To facilitate this we have prepared 2 monitoring surveys which we are analysing to best understand the current and potential impact on the sector.
Regular communication between MVT and MVA members is underway.