THE Music Venue Trust, who represents over 500 music venues in the UK, have issued an open letter to the UK government, asking for urgent support to protect the live music industry.
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
Signed by around 560 members, including Scottish venues such as The Garage, Saint Luke’s, The Glad Cafe, La Bella Angele, Church Dundee and SWG3, Music Venue Trust states that it will be unlikely that many venues will be able to open before October with social distancing measure in place as dancing, singing and standing close to one another will all be deemed “high risk activities”.
“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.”
Read the full open letter HERE.
We also encourage you to contact your local MSP to urge them to show their support.