A fifth of London’s historic and grassroots venues are facing the risk of closure following a huge hike in business rates according to report commissioned by the capital’s Mayor, Sadiq Khan.
The report, compiled by Nordicity, shows that the business rates for London venues rose by an eye-watering 26% when the new rates were implemented on April 1.
Venues at risk include The Lexington, the Macbeth in Hoxton and the world famous 100 Club, a venue that has hosted gigs by The Rolling Stones, Sex Pistols and Paul McCartney among many others.
The 100 Club’s owner, Jeff Horton, is facing a 40% hike in business rates and is concerned not only about the ability of these small venues to absorb these rates, but also the detrimental knock-on effect it will have on the next generation of emerging talent.
He said: “London is one of the most visited cities on the world and people come here because of our incredible arts and cultural heritage.
“I am not sure the government realise the damage they are doing with these business rates increases. Venues like us need to be looked at like an asset of the community like in Berlin.
“Places like this are priceless when it comes to our economy and culture. I worry about where the new up-and coming bands are going to come from – if you look at the major festivals it is often the veteran bands who headline them and that is partially because there aren’t as many grassroots music venues that nurture talent as there used to be.”
The Mayor said: “London’s grassroots music venues are the foundation of the UK’s world-leading music industry, providing a vital talent pipeline for the artists and stars of tomorrow.
“Music venues are often the place where risks are taken on new artists and cultural innovation happens. They are the main platform for new and emerging artists and for the music industry to spot and recruit the next generation of talent.”
He continued: “The way in which the business rates are evaluated for London’s grassroots music venues doesn’t make sense – it is completely unfair to bill a business based on the size of its building and not to take its profits into account.
“At the very least, I want to see Transitional Rate Relief being prioritised for small businesses like grassroots music venues, which contribute so much to London’s reputation as a powerhouse for culture and music.”