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Music Venue Trust Shares Letter Calling For Government Help
Christian Eede , June 23rd, 2020 15:09

An immediate cash injection of £50m is needed to prevent mass closures in July, August and September, according to the body

With Boris Johnson's government today (June 23) announcing further changes to the UK's lockdown and social distancing measures that will come into effect from July 4, the Music Venue Trust has issued an open letter calling for urgent support to support the UK's live music industry.

On behalf of hundreds of grassroots music venues based across the UK, the body has called for the government to introduce an immediate cash injection of £50m, which representatives say is desperately needed to prevent mass closures in July, August and September.

The effects of mass closures during the COVID-19 pandemic mean that the Music Venue Trust is calling for a sector-specific rescue package, which is vital for the survival of the body's member venues. Additionally, the trust is proposing a one-off cut in VAT on ticket sales for the next three years for venues and promoters to help see them through the ongoing economic effects of COVID-19.

"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," the Music Venue Trust's letter says. "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 ecosystem that is the UK music industry, alongside the loss of very substantial VAT and income tax receipts by HM Government."

Mark Davyd, the CEO of the Music Venue Trust, adds: "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 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."

You can read the Music Venue Trust's open letter to the government in full here.

For rolling updates on how COVID-19 is impacting the worldwide music scene, click here.