Coronavirus: Grassroots music venues call for £50m rescue package

Yahoo Finance UK
The live music industry generates more than £5 billion for the UK economy. Credit: Getty.
The live music industry generates more than £5 billion for the UK economy. Credit: Getty.

The music venue industry is calling on government for an immediate cash injection of £50m ($62m) to prevent mass closures in July, August and September.

The Music Venues Trust (MVT) is asking for a grassroots-specific rescue package and a one-off cut in VAT on ticket sales for the next three years for venues and promoters.

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The live music industry, which generates £5.2bn for the UK economy and a further £2.7bn in export revenues, is facing substantial losses with 90% of venues and festivals at risk of permanent closure.

The MVT, which represents 819 independent UK venues, is warning of the total collapse of the sector with the loss of thousands of job cuts including promoters, production companies, managers, agents and artists.

The industry is concerned about slow ticket sales once events are allowed to go ahead.

A survey by MVT found that although 89% of respondents were eager to return to gigs, only 36% felt confident it would be safe to do so.

READ MORE: Coronavirus: UK to issue new guidance for hospitality sector to reopen

Around 50% of the 28,640 respondents said they would visit venues fewer times or not at all in July. Attendance confidence fared better later in the year with the figure dropping to 16% when considering an October concert.

Mark Davyd, CEO, Music Venue Trust said: “When we eventually emerge from lockdown, grassroots music venues, the absolute bedrock, the foundations, the cornerstone on which our world beating £5.2bn 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 £5bn a year industry at long term risk for lack of a short term £50m investment."

The #saveourvenues campaign launched in April has raised £2m to date, saving hundreds of venues in the short term. But Davyd said the situation remained "dire" and relying on donations was not sustainable.

He also argued that Whitehall was set to lose billions of pounds of future tax revenue if it did not act now to support music settings.

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