Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Music Venue Owner Sounds Rates Warning

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Music Venue Owner Sounds Rates Warning

Article excerpt

Byline: Jonathon Manning Reporter jonathon.manning@trinitymirror.com @JONNYAMANNING

THE future of small music venues across Newcastle and Gateshead is being put at risk because of increased competition and high business rates, according to a new survey.

The Government is being urged to review business rates for music venues after 42% of venue owners said that high rates negatively impacted their business over the last 12 months.

The survey, which was published in the Valuing Live Music report by Newcastle University, has highlighted the growing challenges that are faced by small music venues in the North East.

Thomas Caulker, owner of Newcastle's World Headquarters club, said he has not noticed any improvement in local services despite the rise in business rates.

He said: "Business rates in Newcastle are going through the roof. Our council is just not funded at all.

"At least a third of our budget has gone in the last three years, so the city council has difficulty just emptying the bins and taking care of the old folk, and the business rates are very, very high.

"The amount we pay in business rates does make it difficult to run our business. It's a lot of money.

"I pay thousands of pounds a month in business rates but our business rates do not reflect what we put back into the city."

Newcastle and Gateshead has around 137 spaces for live music events, which have a major impact on the region's economy.

Local residents spend PS43.6m a year on tickets and the industry generating gross value added of PS19.9m. Live music also supports 1,620 full-time equivalent jobs in the region.

While increased business rates are a major cause for concern for venue operators, the biggest worry was the increased competition in the region.

Of the venue owners surveyed, 46% said increased competition in the area had negatively impacted their business. This was made worse by the increased size and number of music venues in the area, which 38% of respondees had said impacted their business. …

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