UK Music asks government to show us the money

UK Music has uncovered a goldmine of Government-backed finance schemes which could potentially unlock millions of pounds to help fund a whole range of music companies from indie labels to recording studios.

The Department for Business Innovation & Skills (BIS) has finally relented to pressure from the music business and other industry sectors feeling the economic pinch by releasing a document that points labels, management companies, publishers and any other small and medium sized (SMEs) outfits operating in the music sector towards a whole host of lending and investment schemes tailored to small, creative companies.

There are seven loan schemes available in the SME Access To Finance Schemes report (https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/83089/13-p176a-sme-access-to-finance-measures.pdf), including the popular Enterprise Finance Guarantee scheme.  But, the new document also catalogues less well known finance options for music companies such as the Start-up loans available for young entrepreneurs to help them launch a new company.

Six investment schemes, some catering to the small high risk companies found in the music sector, are also listed alongside other financial support and information about the new Business Bank, which was launched last year and will make £300m available to businesses over the next two years.

The 27-page document also outlines a range of funds and pointers on which Government bodies can offer advice and support to music companies: UK Trade and Investment, which helps companies with their overseas trading strategies and will have a major presence at SXSW this month, is listed alongside products available from UK Export Finance.     

The move by BIS to publish SME Access To Finance Schemes follows last year’s admission by minister for business and enterprise Michael Fallon that banks needed to “step up to the plate” and provide affordable finance to SMEs.

The availability of the report couldn’t have come quick enough for UK Music CEO Jo Dipple.  She has criticised the Government for not pressing banks to make finance more easily and quickly available to many of the kinds of companies her organisation represents.  “One of the reasons there has been no economic recovery is that SMEs, like many of our music companies, cannot get hold of finance.  Also, very often they don’t know what is available and they don’t know where to go for it.  This is the Government’s attempt to make things a lot easier and put all the available funding opportunities into one comprehensive document.”

Dipple added that UK Music and its member organisations will now trawl through the document and evaluate exactly which loan and funding schemes are relevant to the music industry and which schemes could be useful to the sector if their terms were slightly altered.  That information will then be shared with industry and Government. 

“BIS ministers need to be advised by our sector, which current financial instruments can be used by music companies and also if some can be tweaked to make them work better for our sector,” she said.  “But, make no mistake there is potentially tens of millions of pounds available.  It is up to us to access it.”

The availability of the new document follows an admission from Business Secretary Vince Cable at the end of last year that the lack of available credit has seriously affected the economy.  Cable said, “Many good small and medium sized businesses still struggle to raise finance from their banks. Now as the economy recovers, there is a risk that UK businesses lack the support they need to grow.”

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