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UK Music and NTIA call for urgent support for music companies facing surging energy bills

By | Published on Tuesday 30 August 2022

Live Music

The bosses of UK Music and the Night Time Industries Association have urged the incoming new UK Prime Minister to provide urgent support for music venues, recording studios and the wider night-time sector as they tackle surging energy bills and the cost of living crisis.

Various organisations repping the music, night-time and hospitality industries have expressed increased concern in recent weeks that many businesses that just about survived all the shutdowns that occurred during the COVID pandemic will now close because of energy costs and other economic challenges.

While there were issues with and gaps in the support offered to those industries during the pandemic, at least there was support, and ministers ultimately engaged with the different sectors. But many industry leaders say they are seeing much less engagement regarding the latest economic problems.

Some cynical optimists wonder if the current government has been delaying intervening in any meaningful way with all these problems to allow whoever takes over from ‘Boris’ Johnson as Prime Minister, following the current leadership contest in the UK Conservative Party, some easy wins during their first few weeks in power.

That said, that leadership contest has basically been a competition between the two factions of Johnson’s government – the bullshitters on one side, the idiots on the other – and it looks like the idiots are going to win. Which raises concern that the new PM simply won’t be up to the task of addressing the current economic mess that they will inherit from the idiotic bullshitter they are replacing.

But UK Music and the NTIA are nevertheless seeking to ensure that that mess – and specifically the challenges facing venues, studios and night-time businesses – is on the new PM’s agenda as soon as the results of the Conservative leadership contest are announced on Monday.

Says NTIA CEO Michael Kill: “Billions of pounds of public funding spent during the pandemic could be wasted if government cannot get a handle on [the] current cost of inflation crisis – energy bills have increased over 300% for over 80% of businesses within the night-time economy”.

“The current climate would see this crisis take more businesses to the point of failure than the pandemic”, he goes on. “As we move towards the colder months, where energy consumption increases, we will see costs spiral out of control. The next few weeks are critical and will require swift action from the new Prime Minister taking over”.

Meanwhile, UK Music CEO Jamie Njoku-Goodwin adds: “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 they 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”, he continues. “[And] the government should look at cutting VAT and extending business rate support to help music businesses that are fighting for their survival”.

This story is discussed on this edition of our Setlist podcast.