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Hundreds Of Music Venues and Studios Face Closure Amidst Energy Bills Crisis

UK Music chief executive Jamie Njoku-Goodwin has issued a warning that music venues, studios and other music businesses will be forced to close without rapid support in the face of energy bills soaring at an unsustainable rate.

He has called on the government to cut VAT from its current 20% and extend business rate help to keep music businesses afloat in this unprecedented time.

The recent energy price cap has not been extended to businesses, meaning venues and studios will face an average increase in bills of 300%, and in some cases, it could be an even further 740%.

Households that will be hit by increasing bills have been offered some support from the government, however no such offer has been extended to music businesses, nor for venues in the hospitality and leisure industries.

Njoku-Goodwin described the crisis as an “existential threat” to the music industry and has urged immediate action from the government.

“It’s urgent that Government takes action to support businesses with the costs they are facing,” he said.

“We all saw just how miserable life was without live music during the pandemic when venues were closed for months – the high cost of energy bills could now close them forever.

“The new Prime Minister must ensure that music businesses are included in the support measures that are brought forward to deal with soaring energy costs.

“The Government should look at cutting VAT and extending business rate support to help music businesses that are fighting for their survival.” 

The Music Venue Trust has revealed the average venue will, on average, be struggling to pay a monthly fuel bill of £5,179 after surveying its 941 venue membership. It marks a stark rise from the current monthly average of £1,245.

THE HIGH COST OF ENERGY BILLS COULD CLOSE MUSIC VENUES FOREVER Jamie Njoku-Goodwin

Based on these findings, the Music Venue Trust predicts that around 30% of the UK’s music venues will be forced to close. This would mark further losses when music venues have been regularly closing over the last decade.

Many of the nation’s most popular venues have fallen in recent years, including The Astoria and Hammersmith Palais in London, The Boardwalk in Sheffield, Glasgow’s The Arches, and many more.

One venue in particular, usually paying its supplier £13,200, was quoted £42,000, meaning the bill had trebled. It was also requested to be paid in full and in advance.

The Trust’s CEO, Mark David, had this to say:

"Alongside the simply unaffordable increases to costs, the government must urgently address the fact that the market for energy supply has collapsed."

"We have multiple examples where venues do not have any option other than to accept whatever price increases and tariffs are proposed by the sole supplier prepared to offer them power at all. The situation has rapidly deteriorated into a monopoly.”

Other music businesses have complained that they are struggling to find a new supplier, after their previous energy firm collapsed.

Should such closures eventually happen, the UK economy would take a sizeable hit. Prior to the pandemic, the UK’s music industry generated £5.8 billion, also supporting 200,000 jobs. Post-pandemic, music businesses are still in recovery mode, meaning the energy crisis is even more ill-timed.