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UK Music CEO hails ‘seismic victory’ as Government backs Agent Of Change

Government today announced (Jan 18) that it will dramatically strengthen planning rules, throwing a lifeline to music venues across the UK

UK Music CEO has described the news that Government will back the much lauded Agent Of Change bill as a “seismic victory for all those who fought so hard to safeguard the future of music venues across the UK”.

Today ((Jan 18) Sajid Javid, Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, announced today that the Government is throwing its support behind the Agent Of Change bill, providing a lifeline to music venues across the UK.

At the conclusion of Parliamentary negotiations, spearheaded by UK Music, Javid promised big changes to nationwide planning policies, which planning authorities will have to legally comply with. The key policy changes will see a crucial addition that will bolster the existing framework to outline that the Agent Of Change bill will protect existing businesses, such as music venues, when areas are being considered for redevelopment.

Prior to the Government’s today, UK Music’s plan to save venues was supported by at least 100 MPs and peers including former Culture Minister Ed Vaizey, as well as organisations including the Music Venue Trust and the Musicians’ Union.

The campaign attracted cross-party support from politicians and music stars including Sir Paul McCartney, Brian Eno, Chrissie Hynde, Nick Mason, Sandie Shaw, Nadine Shah, Ray Davies, Imogen Heap, Billy Bragg, Feargal Sharkey and Craig David.

The decision came after Labour MP and former Government Minister John Spellar unveiled his Planning (Agent of Change) Bill on January 10 2018 at a mass lobby of Parliament.

Javid commented: “Music venues play a vital role in our communities, bringing people together and contributing to the local economy and supporting the country’s grass roots music culture.

“I have always thought it unfair that the burden is on long-standing music venues to solve noise issues when property developers choose to build nearby.

“That’s why I consulted on this in February last year as part of the Housing White Paper. I am pleased to finally have an opportunity to right this wrong and also give more peace of mind to new residents moving into local properties.”

UK Music chief executive Michael Dugher, said: “This is a seismic victory for all those who fought so hard to safeguard the future of music venues across the UK – from grassroots community activists to Britain’s global music stars who have spent years calling for Agent of Change and recently supported the Spellar Bill

“We are delighted the Government has thrown its support behind our Agent of Change plan and is strengthening the rules to protect grassroots music venues. It’s a tremendous boost for the live music industry.

“Music makes a huge contribution to our country, bringing enjoyment to millions and contributing £4.4 billion to our economy. Supporting grassroots venues is key to maintaining the UK’s vibrant and diverse music scene, as well as ensuring we have the talent pipeline to maintain Britain’s position as a global force in music.

“UK Music will continue to campaign on other key issues that affect venues like licensing and business rates to make sure British music is protected, strengthened and nurtured for the future.

“It’s great that Ministers have listened and are prepared to work with UK Music and others from the industry, including the Music Venue Trust, to make sure grassroots venues get the support and protections they need.”

Spellar added: “I am delighted that the Government have listened to grassroots venues and campaigners that have supported the safeguards contained in my Planning (Agent of Change) Bill. This announcement is fantastic news. While we need to iron out the final details when considering the draft framework, there is a real hope that these new provisions could be law by the summer.”