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Venues Day 2015: UK shadow culture secretary calls for action as Boris backs ‘grassroots rescue plan’

'Agent of change' is hot topic at today's event

Michael Dugher, Britain’s shadow secretary of state for culture, media and sport, will today call for the introduction of new protections to safeguard small music venues.

The Labour Barnsley East MP (pictured), speaking at today’s Venues Day conference, will argue that existing legislation is not sufficient and affirm his support signing the ‘agent-of-change principle’ into law across the UK.

Under the principle, the business or person responsible for any change in the area surrounding a music venue would be responsible for managing the impact (for example, housing developers paying for the soundproofing of venues in order to prevent noise complaints).

“Since 2010, the government has stood by whild grassroots music venues have been allowed to wither away,” said Dugher, formerly shadow transport secretary, ahead of the event. “Small music venues across the country play a key role in allowing and enabling great young talent to grow and develop into our next global stars. They have played a vital role in the success of the British music industry and must be supported.

“That’s why I support calls for the agent-of-change principle to be adopted across the country and why Labour we will be considering what other measures could be put in place to help small music venues as part of our review into the arts. We need to act fast before it’s too late for many small venues.”

The Labour Party is unlikely to be in any position to implement Dugher’s plans any time soon – it was wiped out by the Scottish National Party in its traditional Scottish heartland in the 2015 election and recently named “unelectable” far-left MP Jeremy Corbyn as its leader – but London’s venues, at least, have the support of its mayor (see Music Venue Trust wins backing from Boris Johnson), who yesterday announced the launch of the ‘Grassroots Music Venues Rescue Plan‘.

Venues Day 2015 was announced by the Music Venue Trust in June (see Music Venue Trust partners with Ministry of Sound for second Venues Day) and has won backing from the Musicians’ Union, UK Music, the Music Industries Association, PPL and Jukely.

Photo: Anthony Mckeown