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Music venues including Tooth and Claw in Inverness ask UK government for aid during coronavirus crisis

By Margaret Chrystall

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Music programmer at the Tooth & Claw, Steve Robertson. Picture: Gary Anthony
Music programmer at the Tooth & Claw, Steve Robertson. Picture: Gary Anthony

Grassroots music venues are asking for cash aid and a reduction in VAT to help them cope with financial losses during the coronavirus crisis.

The plea comes in an open letter sent to the UK government and signed be venues across the country including the Tooth and Claw in Baron Taylor's Street in Inverness.

The venue's programmer of music Steve Robertson said: "The measures the Music Venue Trust is asking the UK government for are so crucial right now to the Tooth and Claw.

"They will give grassroots venues a shot in the arm to return properly and to offer live music in a format people know.

"Without these measures, there is a high chance that many grassroots venues and this culture for live music may not return."

In their letter venues lay out a plan of the support they say the live music sector needs to survive and recover in the future.

Thy are calling for an immediate £50 million financial support package plus a reduction in VAT on future ticket sales which they say will bring tax in UK grassroots venues into line with major international competitors.

They say: "These measures are simple, quick, effective and would prevent the closure of hundreds of grassroots music venues.

"They are the right thing to do.

"We are a dynamic, innovative, and inventive sector. We do not need permanent government intervention to exist. We are not asking to become a permanently subsidised drain on the public purse.

"We do not need the government to step in and tell us how to run our venues.

"We need government to take two simple steps and leave us to work out how to do the rest.

"We need you to do the right thing."

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