Music industry reacts to new UK energy cost plans

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By Andy Malt | Posted on Friday, September 9, 2022

Reactions from the live music and nightlife sectors were mixed yesterday when new UK Prime Minister Liz Truss announced her grand plan to deal with soaring energy costs. The Music Venue Trust said the plan “only helps to mitigate the challenge”, while the Night Time Industries Association called it a “half measure”.

Energy prices have skyrocketed in recent months, of course, with the ongoing war in Ukraine and Russia’s throttling of gas supplies playing a big part in this. While the UK is less dependent on Russian gas than other European countries, the crisis has driven up wholesale energy prices around the world.

Under the new plan, UK households will see the price energy suppliers can charge per unit capped for the next two years, so consumers will pay an average of £2,500 a year. The policy reverses a previously announced increase in the energy price cap which was to take the average bill from £1,971 to £3,549 on October 1.

The cap will also be extended to businesses for the first time, but initially only for six months. Once the initial six-month period is over, the government says it will “provide continued and targeted support to vulnerable industries”, with the first review of the direction of that support due in three months.

Reacting to the news, MVT Venue Support Manager Clara Cullen said yesterday, “The financial impact of rising energy prices on the grassroots music venue industry presents an existential challenge. For a sector with a total gross turnover of £399 million, the current rise is equivalent to an additional £90 million in costs”.

“The policy announced today only mitigates the challenge, in the very short term, by creating an energy price cap for businesses that will be in place for six months,” she continued. “The government is committed to reviewing this policy in collaboration with the hotel sector. Music Venue Trust will contribute to this review to ensure that the perspective of grassroots music venues is included in this decision-making process”.

“As the policy announced today is only a short-term temporary measure, Music Venue Trust urges the government to take further action to ensure a long-term solution for the energy supply of concert halls providing an affordable, reliable and sustainable energy supply,” she concluded. “We need this action to happen as soon as possible to protect, secure and improve our grassroots music venues.”

More damning of the new measures, NTIA CEO Michael Kill said: “We are extremely disappointed with the Prime Minister’s announcement today, this package of half measures is equivalent to the support experienced during the pandemic, but lacks considerable detail to alleviate current trade concerns”.

“We don’t have time for piecemeal support, or to wait for the impact assessment of incremental measures, this needs to be a concise and immediately accessible, proportionate and scalable package,” he said. he adds.

‘As the first major announcement of the Prime Minister’s and Chancellor’s tenure,’ he continued, ‘the government went bankrupt today, and with the mounting debt in the sector, we will see that many n ‘will have no choice but to look to the future, placing thousands of jobs at risk in the coming weeks, without additional support’.

With no price cap on their energy bills, live and hospitality music companies, as well as recording studios, have reported facing price hikes of between 300% and 700%, threatening many with closure as they were unable to sustain these increased costs. .

Whether these new measures will be enough to keep the lights on (literally) all winter remains to be seen.

LEARN MORE ABOUT: Music Venue Trust | Night Industries Association (NTIA)

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