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UK Music calls for quicker action on business rates

By | Published on Wednesday 14 March 2018

UK Music

Cross-sector music industry trade group UK Music has urged the government to bring forward even further the next review of business rates.

In his Spring Statement, delivered yesterday, the government’s top money minister, Chancellor Of The Exchequer Philip Hammond, announced that he was bringing forward by one year the next planned review of the rates paid by businesses to local authorities wherever they have premises. So that means it will happen in 2021.

Subsequent revaluations will then take place every three years, rather than five years, as in the past, so business rates can better reflect changes in the wider economy.

However, UK Music says that small businesses in the music sector can’t wait until 2021 for an “urgently-needed review” of the rates they pay. The trade body last year spoke out about the impact of recent changes to business rates on grassroots music venues and independent recording studios, urging Hammond to act.

At the time UK Music boss Michael Dugher noted that: “One small venue, the Lexington in North London, has seen a staggering rise of 118% in its rateable value this year. Meanwhile, Arsenal’s 60,000 capacity Emirates Stadium nearby enjoyed a 7% cut in its rateable value”.

Responding to Hammond’s new commitment to bring forward the next business rates revaluation by one year, Dugher said yesterday: “Many music venues and studios are still reeling from the huge hikes in business rates following last year’s revaluation. Venues and studios need help now and can’t afford to wait until 2021”.

Noting again the comparative impact the last revaluation had on the Lexington versus the Emirates Stadium, Dugher continued: “We need an urgent review of the disproportionate rates many venues and studios face if we are to maintain our vibrant and diverse music scene. The Chancellor needs to press the fast forward button and make that happen”.