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Energy bill increase could decimate UK music venues

30 August 2022, 10:03 | Written by Cerys Kenneally

UK Music Chief Executive Jamie Njoku-Goodwin is calling on the government to reduce VAT and extend "business rate support" to save UK music venues, which could be decimated due to rising energy costs.

Music venues are once again at risk of permanent closure, but this time due to spiralling energy prices and not having access to an energy price cap. Many music venues are seeing their energy bills increase by an average of 300%, and there's even some experiencing a staggering 740% increase.

Music Venue Trust has conducted a survey with its 941 venue members, which shows they're experiencing an average increase of 316% in fuel bills (with an average fuel bill cost of £5,179 per month). The organisation is also warning that 30% of the UK's music venues could close permanently if the rising energy costs are not addressed.

A representative for a London recording studio said, "For our recording studio, energy costs are due to more than double in October. Gas is likely to go up 600% and electricity perhaps 80%. The result is going from £132,000 to £288,000 - a shocking £156,000 increase. There is no way they can significantly economise on usage or pass this increase on to their clients. It is a big hit in profitability at a point when there are cost pressures in nearly all other areas. As the price increase is unknown, it could get even worse between now and the renewal."

UK Music Chief Executive Jamie Njoku-Goodwin is now calling on the government to take action to protect these spaces, and is suggesting that the new Prime Minister (who will be announced on 5 September) should look "at cutting VAT and extending business rate support to help music businesses that are fighting for their survival."

Music Venue Trust CEO Mark Davyd said, "Alongside the simply unaffordable increases to costs, the government must urgently address the fact that the market for energy supply has collapsed."

He added, "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."

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