Candidates in the upcoming local elections across the UK have been called upon by LIVE to support the live music sector, if elected this week.
LIVE, the voice of the UK’s live music business, has written to all major political parties to ask their candidates to pledge support. The elections, which are due to take place on 5 May 2022, will elect local councillors and leaders with crucial devolved powers – including funding and control over licensing and planning processes – capable of helping the live music industry to thrive.
Live music is a £4.5bn industry which employs over 200,000 people across the entire country, from large arenas to small high street venues. Unlike other industries, the impact of live music’s contribution is not confined to a square mile in the capital city, but instead permeates the very fabric of every town and village across the country, meaning that local councillors have a critical role to play in its protection and growth.
LIVE’s manifesto pledges set out a commitment to recognising the positive impact that artists, venues, festivals, and the wider supply chain have on both local economies and quality of life, along with a promise to provide support to struggling businesses as they seek to recover post pandemic.
Jon Collins, CEO of LIVE said:
“Communities up and down the country are brought alive by live music, whether that be a local music hall, pop-up gig or arena concert.
“However, the very fabric of that eco-system is being threatened due to the unique post-pandemic and post-Brexit challenges we are facing, including a 7.5% increase in VAT on tickets and wholesale cost increases whilst many artists and crew struggle having never received any government financial support. I am today calling for the full support of all local leaders to help us protect and grow the UK’s truly world class live music scene, ensuring their constituents continue to enjoy its benefits.”
LIVE continues to lobby on several mechanisms to achieve this, including reforming the business rates system and providing additional funds for artists and freelancers.
The manifesto pledges that political leaders have been asked to commit to are as follows:
I am proud to support the UK’s live music sector and pledge if elected I will:
1. Recognise the positive impact live music, our artists venues and festivals have on both the local economy and quality of life.
2. Commit to maintaining and strengthening local funding for live music venues and festivals in real terms.
3. Provide support to those individuals and businesses struggling as they seek to recover post pandemic: be that discretionary business rates relief, removing festivals on agricultural land from the business rates system or funds for those artists, freelancers and small businesses in the supply chain, who make our live music venues, festivals and events such a success.
4. Commit to support local music venues and festivals through local licensing and planning policies including active adoption of the Agent of Change principle.
5. Support the live music industry as it invests in creative skills and recruitment to offer high quality, stimulating and rewarding careers.
6. Create and implement a comprehensive, long-term strategy for my local area that values live music and its role as a driver of culture-led regeneration including use of Community Asset Transfer powers
To demonstrate their support candidates are being asked to sign up to these pledges publicly by sharing the manifesto on social media. Artists, venues, and supply chain businesses are also encouraged to raise this directly with their local candidates.