The Music Venue Trust has released a statement following the news that Chancellor Rishi Sunak is introducing a £1 billion support package for businesses affected by Covid-19, labelling it a “woefully inadequate response to the reality of the position”.
Sunak’s new package includes one-off grants of £6,000, a reintroduction of the Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme and £30million for the Cultural Recovery Fund.
The statement from The Music Venue Trust started: “We welcome any announcement from Treasury that recognises the very serious situation facing grassroots music venues, and other cultural and hospitality spaces, operators and staff”.
However, it added: “Regrettably, today’s announcement appears a woefully inadequate response to the reality of the position.” Of the £6,000 grant, the organisation said: “This sum is intended to mitigate losses for an as yet unknown period in which business has not just fallen, it has completely collapsed.”
The Trust explained that: “Regardless of any restrictions or limitations to business yet to be announced, business has already collapsed for at least 6 weeks – you can’t turn the live music industry on and off like a desk lamp, tours/events are cancelled. Not just today, or tomorrow, for the next 3 months”.
A recent report by the Music Venue Trust showed that nearly 40% of music fans in the UK have not gone to gigs due to the rise of Covid cases, meaning that, during the first week of December through to the start of the second week, the sector reported losses of nearly £2million.
Music Venue Trust CEO Mark Davyd said, “It feels like we are back exactly where we were in March 2020, when confusing government messaging created a ‘stealth lockdown’ – venues apparently able to open but in reality haemorrhaging money at a rate that will inevitably result in permanent closures unless the government acts quickly to prevent it”.