UK Music Chief Executive Jamie Njoku-Goodwin has said that music venues, studios and other music businesses face closure without swift action to help with rising energy bills.
Additionally, a new survey from the Music Venue Trust (MVT) has found the skyrocketing effect of energy bills on its members. The 941 venues surveyed revealed they face an average rise in fuel bills of 316% – that takes the average fuel bill cost from £1,245 to £5,179 per month.
Consequently, having already navigated through the worst of the pandemic and its various lockdowns, some 30% of the entire network of venues face the looming possibility of permanent closure.
One venue in the survey reported on being issued a £42,000 bill for their yearly fuel, which their supplier is asking for upfront – that’s more than three times the venue’s current £13,200 bill.
Another major recording studio in London reported to the Music Producers Guild (MPG) that its energy costs are set to more than double in October, with prices for gas likely to increase by 600% and electricity by some 80%, making its overall costs rise from £132,000 to £288,000.
Njoku-Goodwin is calling on the government to cut VAT from its present 20% and extend business rate help provide aid to those venues now struggling. The energy price cap doesn’t apply to businesses, leading to the price rises for so many venues.
“Spiralling energy costs have created an existential threat for venues and music studios. It’s urgent that Government takes action to support businesses with the costs the are facing.
“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.”
Music Venue Trust CEO, Mark Davyd, meanwhile, added: “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.”
All of this comes as the sector is still recovering from the effects of the pandemic and the forced closure of many of its venues.
This may have been the first summer in a long while since some venues could fully open without the need to adhere to coronavirus regulation, but it looks set to be a long, pricey road ahead into the Autumn and Winter months.