Grassroots Music Venues Stabilisation Funds
Name of Grant:
Grassroots Music Venues Stabilisation Fund
Legal power used:
Funding was provided to Creative Scotland to distribute this fund under the Public Services Reform (Scotland) Act 2010, Section 39.
The purpose of the fund was to provide grassroots live music venues in Scotland (i.e. those developing new talent), that were financially sustainable before COVID-19, with the funds to prevent closure and stabilise them as agreed between The Music Venues < Trust and The Scottish Government.
The Scottish Government understands the impact COVID-19 has had on grassroots music venues, which had to close completely for the majority of the pandemic. That is why emergency funding was provided to a Grassroots Music Venues Stabilisation Fund, operated by Creative Scotland, to provide emergency support for this sector. This emergency funding has supported otherwise strong and viable venues, protecting the music sector, jobs and livelihoods helping prepare for a stronger economic recovery and ensure the survival of grassroots music venues, a pillar of the Scottish creative industries.
The Scottish Government fully recognises the important contribution that grassroots music venues play in the sector in Scotland and the vital roles that they play in growing the talent pipeline for the sector and in skills development. It also recognises the important roles that they play in our communities and in supporting community activities.
On Tuesday 22 September 2020 the awards for the first round of the Grassroots Music Venues Stabilisation Fund were announced which provided £2.2m to 68 venues. In December 2020 Fiona Hyslop, the Cabinet Secretary for Economy, Fair Work and Culture in the Scottish Government, announced a £4m second round of the Grassroots Music Venues Stabilisation Fund.
In order to address the needs of many sectors adversely impacted by the pandemic, a range of business support funds were introduced over several months to provide emergency funding to help secure jobs, safeguard businesses and to alleviate hardship.
Within this context of needing to react quickly, there was limited opportunity to gather evidence on the possible impacts of these measures. Nevertheless in developing these funds we spoke to a range of organisations representing people with one or more of the protected characteristics which included speaking regularly to the Scottish Trade Unions Congress culture affiliates and in particular the Musician’s Union. Specifically in relation to the Grassroots Music Venues Fund, we spoke to the Music Venues Trust and Creative Scotland to develop this fund.
Together this helped us shape the funds in a way which recognises the importance of assessing new and revised policies against the needs of the general equality duty as set out in section 149 of the Equality Act 2010 to eliminate unlawful discrimination, harassment and victimisation, advance equality of opportunity between people who share a protected characteristic and those who do not, and foster good relations between people who share a protected characteristic and those who do not. The Scottish Government also considered whether the measures could constitute direct and/or indirect discrimination.
We are also mindful that the equality duty is not just about negating or mitigating negative impacts, we also have a positive duty to promote equality. We have sought to do this through provisions contained in the measures or by support and guidance available. For example, the guidance for the fund, produced by Creative Scotland, ensured people, such as disabled applicants, who needed alternative formats, languages or access support for their application could request this. This included offering additional one-to-one support between applicants and Creative Scotland’s equalities team.
The guidance produced by Creative Scotland for the fund also encouraged all applicants to commit to, upon their opening, to sign up to Attitude is Everything’s Grassroots Venue Charter of Best Practice and to publish their Safe Spaces Policy or Statement. Grassroots Venues Charter of Best Practice helps venues to make live music more accessible for Deaf and disabled people and is recognised as the industry standard for live music accessibility. More information is available here: www.attitudeiseverything.org.uk/the-charter-ofbest-practice/grassroots-venue-charter
Safe Spaces Policy or Statement helps venues show what they do to ensure they are inclusive and safe spaces for anyone to participate and enjoy live music without fear of feeling marginalised, unwelcome, being threatened or harassed. More information is available via the Musicians Union Safe Space Scheme:
Key Findings - impact assessment of benefits and/or disadvantages.
Age: Older People and Children and Young People
Older people, and children are unlikely to have been impacted by this support as its focus was on supporting jobs and businesses. However, those of working age, will have been positively impacted by access to this support for venues.
Sex: Men and Women
The Covid business support schemes were designed to support established businesses, and the grants awarded reflect the pre-existing gender imbalance in the established business base. The Evidence paper from the FM’s National Advisory Council on Women And Girls’ spotlight on gender inequality within the Creative industries can be found here. This highlights that in the Creative Industries, women account for around one third of the workforce and 60% of part-time positions. 42% of men working in the sector are in Professional Occupations, compared with 25% of women. Around two-thirds of senior managerial positions are held by men and two-thirds of the Administrative / Secretarial positions are held by women.
Using the Arts, recreation and entertainment sector as a proxy, the full-time median gender pay gap was 4.1% in 2019. This was below the average for Scotland overall and was one of the smallest full-time gender pay gaps of any sector.
44% of women respondents to Creative Scotland’s “Understanding Diversity in the Arts” survey cited gender as a barrier to career progression compared to 12% of men.
Therefore, while this scheme will have had a positive impact on jobs, including those held by both men and women in the creative sector, there are inequalities for women in the creative sector itself.
The Scottish Government is aware through its engagement with the Policy and Evidence Centre that racial inequality can vary by genre in the music sector. The fund welcomed applications from venues which worked with all musical genres and types to avoid creating any additional inequality in access to funding.
In its 2016 report Understanding Diversity in the Arts, Creative Scotland found that around 5% of all respondents to its survey stated they are from a minority ethnic or mixed group, this compares to 3.7% of the Scottish population (Census 2011). Approximately 8% of respondents are from the rest of the European Union. We do not have any data on the ethnic make-up of the grassroots music industry workforce. The immediate priority of business support was to mitigate the economic impact of the pandemic on existing businesses to help venues survive. This funding will therefore inherit existing inequalities within the sector.
People from ethnic minority backgrounds working in the grassroots music sector could be positively impacted by sustaining businesses and protecting jobs.
30% of respondents to a 2016 Creative Scotland survey on diversity in the arts, stated they had a disability/long term health condition . This is well above the national average of around 20%. However, 22% of the respondents stated their disability reduced their ability to carry out day-to-day activities ‘a little’ or ‘a lot’, which is closer in line with national level statistics. The most common condition, selected by 14% of all respondents is a mental health condition. We do not have access to data around disability in the grassroots music sector as whole.
In 2017/18, 10% of permanent staff and 0% of contractural/freelance staff in Creative Scotland’s Regularly Funded Organisations identified as disabled.
We would expect that disabled people working in the grassroots music sector would be positively impacted if businesses and jobs are sustained. However, as this funding was supporting existing businesses the existing inequalities within the sector would be inherited by this funding.
Creative Scotland encouraged all applicants to commit to, upon their opening, to sign up to Attitude is Everything’s Grassroots Venue Charter of Best Practice and to publish their Safe Spaces Policy or Statement. Grassroots Venues Charter of Best Practice helps venues to make live music more accessible for Deaf and disabled people and is recognised as the industry standard for live music accessibility. More information is available here: www.attitudeiseverything.org.uk/the-charter-ofbest-practice/grassroots-venue-charter
However, we are aware that due to the necessary urgency of this fund, there was only a week for applications to be submitted. This might have proved challenging for people with disabilities in some cases if more time needed to complete the form, although enquiries could be submitted to Creative Scotland.
Religion and Belief
- We have no evidence to suggest that people with religion or belief are likely to have been impacted positively or negatively by this fund.
- We have no evidence to suggest that sexual orientation is likely to have been a factor influencing whether this fund has had positive or negative impacts on a person.
Pregnancy and maternity
- In Creative Scotland’s “Understanding Diversity in the Arts Survey Summary Report”, a third of survey respondents had parental or carer responsibilities with no significant variance by gender. However, there was significant gender variation in how responsibilities are shared, 57% of females described themselves as the primary or sole carer compared with only 9% of males; 44% of respondents felt that carer responsibilities were shared equally (although males were more likely to state this than females).
- We have no evidence to suggest that pregnancy and maternity is likely to have been a factor influencing whether this fund has had positive or negative impacts on a person.
- We are aware of the issues in inequality across the music sector faced by those who are pregnant or who are Mothers. This is why we are supportive of Creative Scotland’s ‘Radical care’ scheme which seeks to investigate the practicalities of providing childcare in creative workspaces.
- We have no evidence to suggest that gender reassignment is likely to have been a factor influencing whether this fund has had positive or negative impacts on a person.
Marriage or Civil Partnership
- We have no evidence to suggest that marriage or civil partnership is likely to have been a factor influencing whether this fund has had positive or negative impacts on a person.
Socio-economic disadvantage: any people experiencing poverty
- In Creative Scotland’s “Understanding Diversity in the Arts Survey Summary Report”, economic limitations was the most commonly cited barrier to career progression, selected by 76% of all respondents. The qualitative data reveals the low earnings and precarity of the careers of many who work in the arts. Economic limitations was more commonly cited by women, part time workers and by those who were primarily artists.
- Applications were only available to be made from owners or tenants of venues that were indoor, permanent venues in Scotland whose main function is to present all-year-round live grassroots music events for the public audience, and have a capacity of less than 600.
We have engaged extensively with businesses and venues, and representative organisations across the music sector during the pandemic.
Engagement with the music sector includes regular communication with:
the Scottish Commercial Music Industry taskforce, Scottish Music Industry Association, Music Venues Trust, STUC Culture Affiliates, and more.
This provided an opportunity to listen to stakeholder views, test ideas, share information about progress and discuss and address specific issues identified by sectors and individual businesses. This has enabled us to ensure the schemes are not unintentionally discriminative to any groups with protected characteristics and to identify any potential barriers to engagement .
The guidance for the fund, produced by Creative Scotland, ensured people, such as disabled applicants, who needed alternative formats, languages or access support for their application could request this. This included offering additional one-to-one support between applicants and Creative Scotland’s equalities team.
The guidance produced by Creative Scotland for the fund also encouraged all applicants to commit to, upon their opening, to sign up to Attitude is Everything’s Grassroots Venue Charter of Best Practice and to publish their Safe Spaces Policy or Statement. Safe Spaces Policy or Statement helps venues show what they do to ensure they are inclusive and safe spaces for anyone to participate and enjoy live music without fear of feeling marginalised, unwelcome, being threatened or harassed. More information is available via the Musicians Union Safe Space Scheme: https://musiciansunion.org.uk/safespace
We have engaged extensively with venues and representatives from across the creative industries, including unions, to ensure any negative impact on people with protected characteristics would be spotted.
Next Steps (if any)
We recently published a paper for the First Minister’s National Advisory Council on Women and Girls’ spotlight on gender inequality within the creative industries, where we suggest a need for further work to tackle the gender inequalities across the creative industries . This paper recognises that the creative industries and arts have a role to play in tackling gender inequality, but also that there is an exciting opportunity for the sector to lead by example. The creative and varied nature of the creative industries and arts sector means that they have a unique voice and potential to reach and engage with new audiences, both in Scotland and globally, on issues of diversity, including on gender inequality.
We continue to work with Creative Scotland and partners to discuss gender inequality within the music sector.
We have a Programme for Government commitment to revise our Creative Industries Policy Statement, and improving equalities within the creative industries will form a part of this.
Declaration and Publication
I have read the Equality Impact Assessment and I am satisfied that it represents a fair and reasonable view of the expected equality impact of the measures implemented.
Signed: Rachael McKechnie
Date: 28 February 2022
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