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UK Music chief warns Budget outcome will ‘do little to save already struggling music venues’

Michael Dugher has welcomed the measures outlined in today's Budget, but has warned the chancellor not to short-change music venues

UK Music chief executive Michael Dugher today gave his reaction to the Chancellor’s Budget.

Last week, Dugher called on Philip Hammond to use his Budget to order an urgent review of business rates to help protect music venues and recording studios.

Today, Dugher warned the Chancellor’s measure to bring forward a planned business rates switch would do little to help music venues and studios, particularly those already struggling to survive.

Hammond said he would bring forward the switch from Retail Price Index (RPI) to the Consumer Price Index (CPI) by two years to April 2018. He said the move would save companies £2.3 billion.

Dugher said: “The Chancellor’s decision to link increases in business rates to the Consumer Price Index instead of the higher Retail Price Index is welcome, as is his commitment to more frequent revaluations.

“But this fails to address the immediate concerns of the music industry where venues and studios are still reeling from rises of up to 118% in their rateable value.

“Many venues will feel short-changed by the Chancellor today. We need a review of the rates many venues and studios face if we are to maintain our vibrant and diverse music scene.

“In particular, the Government must clarify whether smaller music venues will benefit from the Chancellor’s announcement of an extension of the pub relief scheme.”

Other Budget measures were welcomed by Mr Dugher, although he stressed the industry was keen to see more details.

Dugher said: “The announcement of a £1.7 billion Transforming Cities Fund to modernise transport in cities is welcome. Local music industries need good transport links to help grow their audiences and attract touring bands.

“We also hope that the Government will address plans for shared parental leave to the self-employed in their forthcoming response to the Taylor Review on modern employment practices.”