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“Dozens of venues will close” in Wales if “fantasyland” draft budget is adopted, Music Venue Trust warns

The Music Venue Trust has warned that grassroots music venues in Wales will be placed at an even greater risk if the Welsh government goes ahead with its draft budget.

The proposals will see pubs, shops and restaurants pay increased business rates in order to put more money towards Wales’ health service, while arts and culture bodies are facing a 10 per cent cut in funding.

The MVT has condemned the plans, describing the draft budget as “a fantasyland document” when it comes to grassroots venues and called for it to be amended before it is adopted.

“The budget has failed to consider the economic realities of the sector, assuming that lowering Business Rate relief for grassroots music venues from 75% to 40% will result in additional income for Welsh Government priorities. That won’t be the outcome. Venues will simply close,” it said in a statement.

STATEMENT ON THE PROPOSED WELSH GOVERNMENT BUDGETThe draft budget from Welsh Government is a fantasyland document when…

Posted by Music Venue Trust on Wednesday, December 20, 2023

“At the moment Senedd Cymru generates 25% of the full Business Rates from a sector which is clearly unable to pay it; the whole sector is operating on a 0.5% profit, with 75% of venue operators forced to take second jobs to survive.

“If this Draft budget is adopted dozens of venues will close. Welsh Government will generate no income at all from a a closed grassroots music venue. It will simply ensure that hundreds of people will be out of work and hundreds of events will be lost.

“Have an urgent rethink Welsh Labour. Cutting funding for Arts and Culture by 10% is bad. Simultaneously increasing taxes on the same sector just isn’t possible. This budget is unworkable.”

The MVT encouraged readers to write to their MPs to demand an amendment to the budget so the current 75 per cent business rate relief on grassroots venues are maintained.

Meanwhile, the SNP is “seriously considering” the introduction of a new tax on tickets for stadium and arena shows in a bid to support grassroots venues.

First Minister Humza Yousaf’s proposed plans would require fans of major acts such as Taylor Swift, Beyoncé and Harry Styles to pay a levy to help the nation’s small and medium-sized live music spaces.

The Music Venue Trust (MVT) said 120 grassroots venues have closed across Britain in 2023 alone, and that Scotland is “disproportionately” affected (via The Times).

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