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This is the conclusion reached by a group of influential MPs sitting on the DCMS Committee. The committee is responsible for monitoring the policy, administration and expenditure of the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

The committee’s report on the live music industry found that in the past decade, the UK has seen the closures of music venues nationwide, while sites that remain face a struggle to stay open given rising costs and declining revenues.

The inquiry found that unsubsidised, small and medium-scale venues face particular problems attributed to rising rents and business rates and stagnating incomes.

The committee found that the Government has failed to act promptly to stem the tide of the closures happening on a scale unprecedented in other cultural sectors, a development that presents a significant and urgent challenge to the music industry. Evidence suggests that the UK’s position at the forefront of the music industry could be at risk because the next generation of musicians will be denied spaces to hone their live craft.

The committee recommended that the Government should immediately review the impact of recent business rates changes on the live music sector and introduce new or extend existing relief schemes such as those for pubs or small retail properties to lessen the burden of business rates on music venues in order to protect grassroots venues and independent festivals.

The committee also recommended that further support should be given by the Government by extending tax relief, already given for orchestra performances, to other forms of music production.

Stephen McCaffrey

Regulatory defence barrister specialising in taxi and private hire licensing law, appeals and defence.

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