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Music Venue Trust Calls For Live Music Commission
Christian Eede , November 17th, 2022 16:37

"This body can be charged with considering the significant opportunities to stabilise and grow the live music sector," the organisation's CEO said

The Music Venue Trust (MVT) has issued a response to the UK Chancellor's Autumn Statement and called for the establishment of a Live Music Commission to support the sector.

In a statement, the organisation's CEO and founder, Mark Davyd, welcomed the UK government's announcement that relief on business rates for the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors would be extended from 50 per cent to 75 per cent from April 2023. This will help the majority of UK grassroots music venues, Davyd said.

However, he added that the organisation has "written to the Treasury to ask that they clarify the support being offered to venues with values in excess of £110,000 – the Autumn Statement lacks clarity on what is proposed for such venues."

MVT also issued a call for a full review of business rates on grassroots music venues to be pushed forward, with no such review having materialised since it was initially promised by the UK government in January 2020. "We strongly urge the Chancellor and Prime Minister to bring forward that review at the earliest opportunity," Davyd said. "The UK has the highest level of premises taxes on grassroots music venues in Europe. This must change for our live music industry to remain competitive."

Davyd further suggested that the government address calls to reduce VAT on ticketing as, he said, "the UK continues to have the highest rate of VAT in Europe on live music tickets." The suggestion comes as ticket sales for events at many UK music venues continue to stumble amid the cost of living crisis.

Putting forward the case that the government is continuing to miss opportunities to effectively support the live music sector, Davyd finally put forward the proposal of a Live Music Commission. The body, he said, can be given the task of focusing on meaningful ways to inform future government policy. "A Live Music Commission can provide the government with the tools it needs to be able to recognise the incredible asset the UK has in its grassroots music venues and ensure that future policy protects, secures and improves them," he concluded.

Read Davyd's full statement here.