Calls have been made by a Fife MSP for greater support to be given to grassroots music venues such as Dunfermline's PJ Molloys and Backstage at the Green in Kinross.

Claire Baker raised a question in the Scottish Parliament earlier this month following an investment from the UK Government to its creative industries sector. She wanted to know if the Scottish Government would receive funding on the back of this, and whether venues in Scotland could benefit.

However, Culture Secretary Angus Robertson responded to her question at the time by saying that he not aware of any Barnett consequentials having been received in Scotland, but went on to highlight that the Scottish Government had committed to increasing culture spending by £15.6 million this year, and by an additional £25 million for next year.

Ms Baker expressed her desire to see additional funding for the sector, highlighting the importance of grassroots venues.

She said: “Music venues across Scotland make a vital contribution to our culture and to our economy. In Mid Scotland and Fife, we are fortunate to have a number of fantastic local music venues, including Backstage at the Green in Kinross and PJ Molloys in Dunfermline.

“Grassroots music venues provide a pipeline of future talent, as well as local access to music, but they are in need of support.”

Callum Miller, of PJ Molloys, said there was not any specific government support for grassroots music venues, and on the wider hospitality sector, a 75 per cent rates reduction offered in England didn't apply here, making things more difficult.

A return to the help that the venue received during the Covid-19 pandemic would be hugely welcome, said Miller, who added: “A VAT reduction on tickets (five per cent) which happened during the pandemic, and is more in line with countries around Europe, would give music venues the opportunity to offer higher fees to bands which would entice more touring acts up to Scotland and give us a great opportunity to grow the grassroots sector.

“Convincing touring bands that PJ Molloys is somewhere they should be stopping off on a national tour is a huge challenge for us. There is added expenses for a band to travel to Scotland and play a smaller city like Dunfermline. If we could incentivise this with lower VAT rates or have subsidies from the government, this would make the whole eco-system of smaller grassroots music venues much more sustainable.

“If venue costs were covered by a government scheme, then bands could be paid higher fees and be encouraged to tour more. This would mean more shows, higher bar revenue for the venue and better economic and social benefits for the city.”