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Senior Ministers urged to back Agent Of Change principle

Senior Ministers urged to back Agent Of Change principle

Conservative MP David Warburton, chair of the All Party Group (APPG) on Music, has urged senior Ministers to back the Agent Of Change principle, a new law aimed at protecting live music venues.

Warburton, chair of the 77-member group, has written to the Government encouraging them to get behind plans to bring Agent of Change into planning law, PSNEurope sister publication Music Week reported. In letters to Communities and Local Government Secretary Sajid Javid, Culture Secretary Karen Bradley and Digital Minister Matt Hancock, he warned of the threat facing small and grassroots music venues across the UK.

While highlighting the benefits of live music to the economy – to the tune of £1 billion a year – he said there were some “worrying signs” for the music business.

The Agent Of Change proposal has received the backing of UK Music and the Music Venue Trust, which has warned that around 35% of music venues have closed in the last decade.

In his letters to Ministers, Warburton said of increasing rent and property sales: “This has placed rising financial burdens on pre-existing operators of grassroots music venues that are often established in popular areas for redevelopment and suddenly find themselves attracting noise complaints from new residents.

“I am sure you will agree with me in believing our music venues play a vital role in supporting the music industry’s infrastructure, nurturing our talent pipeline and ensuring a healthy industry across the country.”

Last month, speaking exclusively to PSNEurope, UK Music CEO Michael Dugher also highlighted the huge problems facing grassroots venues in the wake of extortionate business rates.