MUSIC venues across Scotland have been saved from permanent closure after being handed £2.2 million of funding.

The Scottish Government has allocated the funding to grassroots music venues, which industry leaders say will “stabilise" the cultural sites that are facing an economic crisis amid the Covid-19 lockdown.

Earlier this week, the UK Government pledged a £1.57 billion rescue package for cultural, arts and heritage institutions – with Scotland’s Economy Secretary, Fiona Hyslop announcing venues north of the border will receive funding.

Ms Hyslop said: “Earlier this week the UK Government also recognised our calls for more support for culture and heritage and there are a number of areas where immediate support is required, including grass roots music venues and museum.

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“We are working closely with each of these sectors to develop support packages and will announce more details in due course.”

She added: “I have agreed a £2.2m fund with the Music Venues Trust for the coming months which will quickly provide much-needed stability to grass roots venues for the coming period.

“I hope this offers some comfort to those in the industry.”

The Music Venue Trust has welcomed the funding, which will keep sites, which are not yet able to re-open, afloat until October.

Nick Stewart, Scottish co-ordinator for the Music Venue Trust, said: “We are delighted to have agreed this funding with the Scottish Government, and we thank them very much for their commitment to grassroots music venues.

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“This funding will stabilise venues in the short term and prevent permanent closures, and we can begin to plan towards reopening every venue safely.”

The £2.2 million pacakage is intended to cover fixed costs which include rent, non-furloughed staff, servicing debts and utilities.

Nick Stewart from Sneaky Pete's music venue in Edinburgh said: "This provides a lifeline for venues like Sneaky Pete's whose future hangs in the balance.

“With no income in the pipeline and no reliable timeline for opening, venues' staff have been distraught, especially as other enterprise or arts funding schemes were inaccessible to them.

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"This will provide well-earned relief for these venues, and not before time. At Sneaky Pete's we can begin to plan our recovery now, so that we can bring back music to our community who have really rallied behind us in an incredible way.”

He added: “We're over the moon that we've been assured we can survive to eventually get back to making more paid performance opportunities for musicians. I think this time has really seen audiences realise how much they value their local music venues.

“We get supportive messages every day from music fans aching to see us reopen. They say you don't know what you've got ‘til it's gone, but thanks to this great news we are still here."