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UK Music urges business rates rethink to save venues and recording studios

By | Published on Thursday 16 November 2017

UK Music

As the Chancellor of that there Exchequer gets ready to deliver his autumn budget statement next week, cross-sector trade body UK Music has called for an urgent review of plans to increase business rates by 4%, arguing such a move could leave both music venues and recording studios fighting for their survival.

Chancellor Philip Hammond is under pressure from various quarters to have a rethink about any business rates increase. And that includes UK Music CEO Michael Dugher, who says that the rises, “coupled with the impact of the government’s business rates revaluation earlier this year, could leave music venues fighting to survive”.

Noting that many music venues are already feeling the heat from those recent changes in the way business rates are calculated, UK Music states: “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”.

It isn’t just venues who have already seen their business rates shoot up though. Says the trade body: “New research from UK Music reveals that recording studios have also faced substantial increases in 2017. The rateable value of the world-famous Abbey Road Studios – where the Beatles and Pink Floyd and Oasis recorded a string of hits – increased by 32% in 2017. AIR Studios, where the soundtrack to Kenneth Branagh’s ‘Murder On The Orient Express’ was recently recorded, has also experienced a rise of 32%”.

Says Dugher: “The Chancellor must rethink these changes which are woefully unjust and could have a potentially catastrophic impact on some music venues and recording studios. The music industry contributes £4.4 billion to our economy, employs more than 142,000 people and generates exports of £2.5 billion. The Chancellor should use his Budget to make sure the venues and studios that gave artists like Adele, The Beatles and Oasis their big break are not put under threat because of soaring rate bills”.

Concluding, the UK Music boss adds: “Music is the jewel in the UK’s cultural crown. But we need to protect music venues … if we are to continue to nurture the stars of tomorrow. The Chancellor must think again and act before it is too late”.