‘It will make a real difference’: York music venues welcome business rates cut

Natural Antagonist play the Fulford Arms. Photograph: Fulford Arms on Facebook

Music venues in York could see their business rates halved – a move they say could “make a real difference”.

Pubs, restaurants, shops and cinemas may also see their bills slashed after the Government announced plans to cut rates for some businesses.

Under the plans music venues with a rateable value of less than £51,000 would get a business rates discount of 50%.

The news comes as York marks Independent Venue Week with a series of shows to support grassroots music venues and the people who work, perform and visit them.

Key community places

Chris Sherrington, owner at The Fulford Arms and secretary of York Music Venues Network, said it could save independent venues thousands of pounds.

He said his business currently pays about £500 a month in business rates and added:

  • One of the main issues venues have is fixed overhead charges – like rents and business rates.

    Business rates are a key one, and it’s something we have been highlighting with the council recently. Independent venues are key community places.

    This recognises the important work that venues do and the challenges they face.

    It will make a real difference and it’s great to see.

The rate reduction will start in April.

The impact of business rates was raised at one of the first meetings of the new York Music Venues Network – formed as City of York Council backed a plan to support live music in the city in November.

Pubs, shops and café savings

Photograph: Brew And Brownie on Museum Street / Instagram
The policy could also see bills slashed for other small businesses. Smaller pubs, shops and cafes already get some business rates relief – but the Government says they could save even more under the new scheme.

And small cinemas will also now be eligible for rates relief.

Shops and cafes can already get a third off their bill – but this will be extended to 50% off.

Kate Nicholls, chief executive of trade group UKHospitality, said: “This is fantastic news for pubs and other high-street businesses who are taking too much of the pain from business taxes.

“The economy has evolved and the tax system needs to catch up.

“Taxing property higher than the rest of the developed world is a recipe for the decimation of our high-streets and communities, which we have already started to see.”