Government slashes business rates for Grassroots Music Venues


We are delighted to bring you some significant, positive news about support for Grassroots Music Venues! We have been supporting and championing the excellent work being done by the Music Venue Trust over recent years and this news is a strategic “win” in the fight to keep our small music venues open. Hundreds of music venues across England and Wales are celebrating as Music Venue Trust secures a 50% rate reduction…

The live music circuit is celebrating as the Government announced details of a 50% reduction in Business Rates for small and medium sized Grassroots Music Venues. The announcement releases over £1.7million back into the grassroots live music sector, which has endured a prolonged crisis illustrated by the closure of 35% of grassroots music venues in the last decade.

Welcoming the news, Music Venue Trust’s Strategic Director Beverley Whitrick said:

“This is a much needed and long overdue boost for Grassroots Music Venues. Music Venue Trust has been working hard with Government on this issue for the last four years and it is a huge breakthrough for us and the members of the Music Venues Alliance. We’d like to thank our partners at UK Music and Musicians’ Union for their support and help in getting this over the line.”

The extension of the relief will see 230 Grassroots Music Venues across England and Wales benefit, with the average saving per venue equating to a reduction in overheads of £7,500 per annum.  It follows other wins for the sector including a new ring-fenced fund announced by Arts Council England in May 2019, which released £1.5million of subsidy into the sector, and changes to planning guidance and the legal framework across the UK which have brought additional protections for music venues from developers and noise complaints through Agent of Change.

Mark Davyd, CEO and Founder of Music Venue Trust said:

“This latest announcement from Government is another foundation stone in the support Music Venue Trust is building so that we can deliver a vibrant, sustainable, world class Grassroots Music Venue sector to artists and audiences. There’s still a lot to be done on this specific issue, and we look forward to working with the governments in Scotland and Northern Ireland to make sure that GMVs across the UK have a level playing field when it comes to Business Rates and Public Subsidies. This issue can be tackled, and it needs a broad coalition of key stakeholders to do that. Government, the Cultural Sector and the live music industry have all acted in the last 12 months to address the crisis in this sector. It’s now time for recording, streaming and publishing interests to play their part. Billions of pounds in revenue are being generated in the music industry from the music that is tested, developed, finds its audience and emerges from these vital spaces. PRS for Music, PPL, Universal, Warners, Sony, Spotify, Apple and Google now need to come to the table and tell us what they are going to do to make sure that continues to happen.”

Reaction from across the Grassroots Music Venue sector

Rob Toogood, Fuel Rock Club, Cardiff:

“In these difficult times for Grassroots Music Venues, business rates are a major challenge to our financial survival. I think it’s fantastic that thanks to the work of Music Venue Trust the Government and local authorities are starting to recognise the important of venues like ours to the cultural infrastructure of our communities. Cardiff and South Wales has a fantastic history of producing rock bands and this relief will play a large part in encouraging us to continue providing a space for the next generation of musicians.”

Dom Frazer, The Boileroom, Guildford:

“This is fantastic news for our team at the venue and for our local music community. We invest every penny we can spare into supporting new and emerging artists and this much needed reduction gives us more freedom to do that. This news really demonstrates the value of an organisation like Music Venue Trust that can speak up for Grassroots Music Venues”

Rebecca Walker, The Leadmill, Sheffield

“Business Rates are one of our largest annual overheads. Thanks to the incredible work of all of the MVT team, this significant reduction will really help us to invest in not only music and the arts, but the staff and infrastructure needed to continue putting on great shows for the people of Sheffield.”

Toni Coe-Brooker, Green Door Store, Brighton

“We are relieved and happy to hear this news and to be acknowledged by the Government. The rate relief we will receive as a Grassroots Music Venue will make a significant impact on our ability to continue doing what we do, supporting our local community and incubating new talent.”

Nathan Clark, Brudenell Social Club, Leeds:

“We are overjoyed to hear this much overdue news of support to Music Venues. Steps made by Music Venue Trust to help recognise the cultural importance of our places and impact on the community is invaluable. This reduction of business rates supports an ability to reinvest, helping new and emerging artists, create accessible events, and further support a vibrant, but financially strained environment for the wider community. A giant step in the right direction!”