Axed energy support may cause mass closures

By Amelie Maurice-Jones

- Last updated on GMT

Threat of closure: Lack of energy support for businesses in Budget comes under fire (Getty/ simonkr)
Threat of closure: Lack of energy support for businesses in Budget comes under fire (Getty/ simonkr)

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Music Venue Trust (MVT) has warned the Government’s failure to extend the business energy relief scheme in yesterday’s Spring Budget would lead to mass venue closures.

Already in 2023, one grassroots music venue is closing every week. The Chancellor Jeremy Hunt offered no energy help​ to businesses is the Budget on Wednesday 15 March. 

According to a spokesperson for MVT, the Budget was a chance to make sure the number of closures did not explode from 1 April when music venues would be hit by excessive and unaffordable energy bills.  

“The Chancellor has failed to respond to the evidence we submitted,” they said. “There is no additional support for music venues and the inevitable result will be mass closures of venues.” 

MVT believed major opportunities to support grassroots music venues had been overlooked throughout the past five years of Budgets. 

Future closures

The spokesperson continued: “This network of venues across the country is a prime opportunity to improve productivity, enhance local jobs, and support struggling communities.  

“We welcome the support for theatres, museums, art galleries and orchestras, but once again we note all the Chancellor's announcements on tax relief for these sectors exclude grassroots music venues and artists.  

“We also note that the opportunities to support research and development in this sector has been once again missed; the R&D tax reliefs announced are not relevant to the Grassroots Music Venue sector.” 

The organisation was still keen to work with the Government to unlock the sector’s potential. “We hope in the near future a Budget statement will be made that recognises and acknowledges the economic, cultural and community opportunity these venues present, the spokesperson added. 

Unlocking potential

They said the failure to act on energy bills would mean 2023 would be the worst year for closures since the creation of MVT in 2014. 

They continued: “In the absence of any action to this challenge by the Government we will once again be reaching out to the energy supply companies to try to avert closures.  

“It is plainly in no one's interest to allow buildings that house grassroots music venues to become abandoned as the cost of energy needed to open those spaces to the public and performers cannot be met by any venue operator.” 

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