London, 15th March 2023
Music Venue Trust (MVT) recently presented to Department of Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) and HM Treasury details of the negative impacts that failure to extend the enhanced business energy relief scheme would have on Grassroots Music Venues (GMVs) from April1st 2023. Already in 2023 one GMV is closing every week. The budget was an opportunity to ensure that this number of closures did not explode from the April 1st when GMV’s will be hit by excessive and unaffordable energy bills. The Chancellor has failed to respond to the evidence we submitted. There is no additional support for music venues and the inevitable result will be mass closures of venues.
We note that, as per the last 5 years of budgets, significant opportunities to support the GMV sector have been overlooked. This network of venues across the country is a prime opportunity to improve productivity, enhance local jobs, and support struggling communities. We welcome the support for theatres, museums, art galleries and orchestras, but once again we note that all the Chancellor’s announcements on tax relief for these sectors exclude Grassroots Music Venues and artists.
We also note that the opportunities to support research and development in this sector has been once again missed; the research and development tax reliefs announced are not relevant to the GMV sector.
We remain keen to work with the Government to unlock the opportunity that the GMV sector presents. We hope that in the near future a budget statement will be made that recognizes and acknowledges the economic, cultural and community opportunity these venues present.
Regrettably, the failure to act on energy bills must inevitably mean that 2023 will be the worst year for closures since the creation of MVT in 2014. In the absence of any action to this challenge by the Government we will once again be reaching out to the energy supply companies to try to avert closures. It is plainly in no one’s interest to allow buildings that house GMVs to become abandoned as the cost of energy needed to open those spaces to thepublic and performers cannot be met by any venue operator.