Support from UK & Devolved Governments

This advice has been updated on 17 July 2020. In addition we suggest MVA members check announcements on the Music Venues Alliance Facebook Group which can be accessed here:



Support Announced by UK Government

The following is the latest information available of the various measures that are being made available by Government to support Grassroots Music Venues (GMVs) in England during the COVID-19 crisis. Many of these measures are UK-wide. For national variations, please see below.

In each case, this is the best information that Music Venue Trust has been able to acquire from government at this time. We are in contact with departments across government to ensure that as soon as additional advice on how to access this support becomes available we can deliver it to GMVs, together with instructions on how to qualify for it and access it.

We will continue to update each section with further guidance when we receive it from UK and national governments.

On 5 July UK Government announced an arts, culture and heritage support package: UK Culture Fund. For England MVT is working with DCMS and Arts Council England to ensure that grassroots music venues are represented in the distribution process and will continue to update MVA members when we have further announcements regarding this. Conversations with devolved governments are ongoing.

On 10 July Scottish Government announced a £2.2million fund for Grassroots Music Venues: Scottish Fund. MVT is working with Scottish Government on plans to distribute this money and will update MVA members in Scotland when we know more.

Scottish Government have announced a package of measures to support businesses in 2020/21, please click here for info.

Welsh Government have announced a package of measures to support businesses in 2020/21, please click here for info.

Northern Ireland’s Government have announced a package of measures to support businesses in 2020/21, please click here for info.

Across all nations of the UK, Music Venue Trust will continue to work with government to ensure that the entire sector, wherever located, is able to access a full range of support so that permanent closures are averted, including any available cultural funding.



Help For You & Your Team

Wages/Salaries for Employees

UK Government announced the creation of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme to run from 1 March – 31 October 2020. The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme supports GMVs to manage the wages/salaries of PAYE employees. Under this scheme HMRC reimburses 80% of furloughed workers wage costs from the date you designated them as furloughed, up to a cap of £2,500 per worker per month.

From 1 July, employers can bring furloughed employees back to work for any amount of time and any shift pattern, while still being able to claim CJRS grant for the hours not worked.

From 1 August 2020, the level of grant will be reduced each month..To be eligible for the grant, employers must pay furloughed employees 80% of their wages, up to a cap of £2,500 per month for the time they are being furloughed.

The timetable for changes to the scheme is set out below. Wage caps are proportional to the hours an employee is furloughed. For example, an employee is entitled to 60% of the £2,500 cap if they are placed on furlough for 60% of their usual hours:

  • for June and July, the government will pay 80% of wages up to a cap of £2,500 for the hours the employee is on furlough, as well as employer National Insurance Contributions (ER NICS) and pension contributions for the hours the employee is on furlough. Employers will have to pay employees for the hours they work
  • for August, the government will pay 80% of wages up to a cap of £2,500 for the hours an employee is on furlough and employers will pay ER NICs and pension contributions for the hours the employee is on furlough
  • for September, the government will pay 70% of wages up to a cap of £2,187.50 for the hours the employee is on furlough. Employers will pay ER NICs and pension contributions and top up employees’ wages to ensure they receive 80% of their wages up to a cap of £2,500, for time they are furloughed
  • for October, the government will pay 60% of wages up to a cap of £1,875 for the hours the employee is on furlough. Employers will pay ER NICs and pension contributions and top up employees’ wages to ensure they receive 80% of their wages up to a cap of £2,500, for time they are furloughed.

Employers will continue to be able to choose to top up employee wages above the 80% total and £2,500 cap for the hours not worked at their own expense if they wish. Employers will have to pay their employees for the hours worked.

Wage caps are proportional to the hours not worked.

To access this scheme you are required to:

Who can be Furloughed:

Furloughed workers may include any individual registered for PAYE prior to 19 March 2020. This includes Directors paid by PAYE, including the venue owner/operator, and a salaried member of a Limited Liability Partnership. A furloughed worker will not be able to work for you as their employer. Furloughed workers may undertake training or volunteer subject to public health guidance, as long as they are not:

  • making money for your venue or a company linked or associated to your venue
  • providing services to your venue or a company linked or associated to your venue

What you’ll need to make a claim

To make a claim, you will need:

  • to be registered for PAYE online (if you are not currently registered for PAYE online you can register here:
  • your UK bank account number and sort code
  • your employer PAYE scheme reference number
  • the number of employees being furloughed
  • each employee’s National Insurance number
  • each employee’s payroll or employee number
  • the start date and end date of the claim
  • the full amount you’re claiming for including employer National Insurance contributions and employer minimum pension contributions
  • your phone number

You also need to provide either:

  1. your Corporation Tax unique taxpayer reference
  2. your Self Assessment unique taxpayer reference
  3. your company registration number

How much you can claim for:

A calculator has been provided here:

We recommend using this calculator prior to starting the process to be clear about your dates and information.

You can claim for salaries from the date you furloughed a member of staff until the date of your claim plus 14 days. You will be able to make further claims in future for the same or alternative employees if necessary. You can now submit claims for periods starting on or after 1 July.

31 July is the last day that you can submit claims for periods ending on or before 30 June.

After you’ve claimed

Once you’ve claimed, you’ll get a claim reference number. HMRC will then check that your claim is correct and pay the claim amount by Bacs into your bank account within 6 working days.

You must:

  • keep a copy of the claim reference number for your records
  • keep a copy of your calculations in case HMRC need more information about your claim
  • tell your employees that you have made a claim and that they do not need to take any more action
  • pay your employee their wages, if you have not already


Statutory Sick Pay

The government will support small and medium-sized businesses and employers to cope with the extra costs of paying COVID-19 related SSP by refunding eligible SSP costs. The eligibility criteria for the scheme are as follows:

This scheme is for employers. You can claim back up to 2 weeks of SSP if:

  • you have already paid your employee’s sick pay (use the SSP calculator to work out how much to pay)
  • you’re claiming for an employee who’s eligible for sick pay due to coronavirus
  • you have a PAYE payroll scheme that was created and started on or before 28 February 2020
  • you had fewer than 250 employees on 28 February 2020 across all your PAYE payroll schemes
  • employers should maintain records of staff absences, but should not require employees to provide a GP fit note
  • the eligible period for the scheme will commence from the day on which the regulations extending SSP to self-isolators come into force
  • Further information can be found here –



  • the government will pay self-employed people a taxable grant equivalent to 80% of their average income over the last three years, up to £2,500 per month per person
  • self-employed people who are eligible can apply directly to HMRC for the grant, using a simple online form; HMRC will then pay the grant straight into your bank account
  • the scheme will be open to those with income of £50,000 or less, who make the majority of their income from self-employment
  • this scheme is being extended. If you’re eligible for the second and final grant, and your business has been adversely affected on or after 14 July 2020 you’ll be able to make a claim from 17 August 2020. You can make a claim for the second grant if you’re eligible, even if you did not make a claim for the first grant
  • this scheme is limited to people who are already self-employed and have a tax return from 2019

How to cover your living expenses until the date of payment:

  • the Coronavirus Business Loan Interruption Scheme is now open to self-employed people – contact your local bank to discuss an interest free loan for the period until this grant payment is made
  • the government has made changes to the welfare system so that self-employed people can immediately apply for Universal Credit in full. You can apply here:



Help With Cashflow

Bounce Back Loans

The government has announced a new loan scheme which will launch on Monday 4 May.

Under the Bounce Back Loan scheme:

  • businesses will be able to borrow between £2,000 and £50,000 and access the cash within days
  • loans will be interest free for the first 12 months, and businesses can apply online through a short and simple form
  • No repayments will be due during the first 12 months

Businesses can apply with any lender taking part in the scheme and some lenders do not require you to bank with them. The credit checks are minimal compared to other loans and have usually been approved within 2 days.

Further information and advice on the scheme is available here –

Interest Free Loans

The government announced the creation of the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, delivered by the British Business Bank, which launched on Monday 23 March to support GMVs to access bank lending and overdrafts.

This is designed so businesses will be able to access the first 12 months of any loan interest free, as government will cover the first 12 months of interest payments. The full rules of the Scheme and the list of accredited lenders is available on the British Business Bank website.

In mid April a new batch of lenders were introduced, including potential funders more experienced in cultural and social lending. Full information is available here:


Small Business Grant Funding

Smaller GMVs: If your Rateable Value is lower than £15,000 then you are eligible to apply for the Small Business Grant Fund. This fund will provide a non-repayable grant of £10,000 to around 700,000 businesses currently eligible for SBRR or Rural Rate Relief, to help meet their ongoing business costs.

Small to Medium GMVs: If your Rateable Value is between £15,000 and £51,000 then you are eligible to apply for a grant (title to be announced). This fund will provide a non-repayable grant of £25,000 to help meet your ongoing business costs.

Local Authorities have been tasked with delivering these grants to you through a speedy process. There is no one single method of doing that; the range of methods includes simply paying money into your registered account without consultation through to an application process. You should check your account for the appropriate level of grant to confirm if you have received it. If you have not, you should contact your local authority to ask for details of how to receive it and when it will be paid.

Discretionary grants: In addition to the above grants local authorities have been provided with powers to distribute discretionary grants – These are mainly aimed at



This remains a complicated issue: the Government announced that its advice to avoid pubs, clubs and theatres etc. was sufficient for businesses to claim on their insurance where they have appropriate business interruption cover for pandemics in place. However, Music Venue Trust are not aware of any successful claim by a GMV to date. Our experts suggest that every GMV should:

  1. closely check your Insurance Policy for any Business Interruption Insurance and/or Prevention of Access Insurance
  2. if your venue has such cover, you must check that this specific area of your policy describes Communicable Diseases and/or Notifiable Diseases and/or Pandemics as a specific peril for which you are covered (please note that this does not ensure your claim will be successful but these are terms to look for: insurers are saying that Covid-19 is on not on the list of specified diseases or that policies covering notifiable disease (ie. inc Covid-19) refer to a situation in which the premises have been closed down due to it being discovered on the premises)
  3. if your policy has the relevant wording, the professional advice is that you should submit a claim and see what response you get from your broker/insurer. The FCA is asking insurers to pay or explain why not
  4. Some group actions have been made by brokers and we are watching to see the result of these actions

Music Venue Trust is offering more detailed information by email to MVA members. If you have not received this please send a request to [email protected]



Help To Manage Your Outgoings

Business Rates Reliefs

The government has announced that all Business Rates for all Grassroots Music Venues, regardless of size, will be zero rated for 2020-21.

Music Venue Trust has written to every Music Venues Alliance GMV in this category in England with details of how to ensure they receive this relief.

Scottish MVA members please click here for info.

Welsh MVA members please click here for info.

Northern Ireland MVA members please click here for info.


VAT and Income Tax Payments

The Government has announced that it will defer Value-Added Tax (VAT) payments for 3 months. If you’re self-employed, Income Tax payments due in July 2020 under the Self-Assessment system will be deferred to January 2021.


For VAT, the deferral will apply from 20 March 2020 until 30 June 2020. All GMVs are eligible. This is an automatic deferment with no applications required. GMVs will not need to make a VAT payment during this period. Taxpayers will be given until the end of the 2020 to 2021 tax year to pay any liabilities that have accumulated during the deferral period. VAT refunds and reclaims will be paid by the government as normal.

Income Tax

For Income Tax Self-Assessment, payments due on the 31 July 2020 will be deferred until the 31 January 2021. If you are self-employed you are eligible. This is an automatic offer with no applications required.

No penalties or interest for late payment will be charged in the deferral period.


Time to Pay

HMRC has set up a dedicated COVID-19 helpline to help those in need, and they may be able to agree a bespoke Time to Pay arrangement. Time to Pay was successfully used in response to flooding and the financial crisis, giving businesses a time-limited deferral period on HMRC liabilities owed and a pre-agreed time period to pay these back. These tailored arrangements will give a business the time it needs to pay HMRC to support their recovery while operating through any temporary financial challenges that occur. HMRC will also waive late payment penalties and interest where a business experiences administrative difficulties contacting HMRC or paying taxes due to COVID-19.

You can learn more about Time to Pay HERE


Mortgage Relief

The Government has announced that Mortgage lenders have agreed they will support customers that are experiencing issues with their finances as a result of Covid-19, including through payment holidays of up to 3 months.



Licensing and Late Night Levies

The Institute of Licensing (IoL) have issued updated licensing guidance. This shows how local authorities can help premises that can’t afford to pay their annual licence and late night levy fees due to the coronavirus lockdown.

  • if a business can’t afford to pay their annual licence or late night levy fee, due to the coronavirus pandemic, they should notify their council
  • the local authority can use their discretion to defer the suspension of the licence to ‘some point in the distant future’, allowing the business time to recover
  • it is a convoluted mechanism without clear advice, but the guidance does exist and you may need to point your local authority towards it
  • it was set out by Home Office Minister Kit Malthouse in a letter to Local Authority Chairs of Licensing on 8 April


  • If you cannot afford to pay your licence or levy fee due to the coronavirus pandemic, notify your council ASAP
  • Request that, as per the guidance from Home Officer Minister Kit Malthouse of 8 April, the council defers suspension of your licence to a point in the future where you are confident you will have been able to pay your licence/levy fee

For reference, click here to see the relevant section from the IoL Guidance



Devolved Governments


At present all measures in England are also available in Scotland, though the Small Business Grant Funding has a different threshold (see below).

Scottish Government announced a £2.2m fund for GMVs on 10 July. We will share details with Music Venues Alliance members when the application process is agreed and announced.

Scottish Government updated their package of measures on 18 March to support businesses in 2020/21:

  • a full year’s 100% non-domestic rates relief for retail, hospitality and tourism (you do not have to apply for the relief, it is automatic so just cancel your direct debit)
  • £10,000 grants for small businesses in receipt of the Small Business Bonus Scheme or Rural Relief (go to this page and then select your local authority from the drop down list:
  • £25,000 grants for hospitality, leisure and retail properties with a rateable value between £18,000 and £51,000 (go to this page and then select your local authority from the drop down list:
  • Scottish Local Authorities have been urged to relax planning rules to allow pubs and restaurants to operate temporarily as takeaways. Speak to your licensing solicitor if you are interested in offering off sales if your licence does not currently include it in your operating plan, as it may be possible to de-licence an area of your premises and relicense it for off-sales on an occasional license. We would only advise this where you think it may be financially viable
  • the Pivotal Enterprise Resilience Fund and Creative, Tourism & Hospitality Enterprises Hardship Fund were available for GMVs and have now closed.
  • support for Business Water Bills: relaxation of charges. Scottish Water has agreed to suspend pre-payment charges for licensed providers for two months, beginning with the April payment. This means providers – who supply water services to businesses – can be flexible with their own customers. We urge you to speak to your water provider



At present all measures in England are also available in Wales, with variations laid out below.

Welsh Government announced an updated package of support on 18 March for small businesses to help them during the coronavirus outbreak:

  • all retail, leisure and hospitality businesses with a rateable value of £500,000 or below will receive 100% non-domestic rates relief in 2020-21
  • businesses with a rateable value of between £12,001 and £51,000 will be offered a grant of £25,000
  • businesses with a rateable value of £12,000 or less will be eligible for a £10,000 grant

In response to the crisis Creative Wales created a Grassroots Music Relief Fund (GMRF). This fund is now closed and a number of GMVs in Wales received funding of up to £25,000 to help them deal with COVID-19 related challenges. Previous to this Creative Wales were running a smaller GMRF for venues to apply for up to £5,000 each up to three times a year. They hope to reinstate that as soon as possible. Read about the launch of that fund here.

We are currently working with Creative Wales and Arts Council Wales around the allocation of the funding for culture announced on 5 July and will share information with Music Venues Alliance members when it becomes available.


Northern Ireland

Please read the Performing Arts Guidance from Arts Council NI.

The Northern Ireland Government announced a package of support on 18 March for small businesses:

  • an immediate grant of £10,000 will be provided to all small businesses who are eligible for the Small Business Rate Relief Scheme (all businesses with a NAV up to £15,000)
  • an immediate grant of £25,000 will be provided to companies in the retail, tourism and hospitality sectors with a rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000
  • The Executive has already committed to providing a three month rates holiday to ALL businesses from April to June