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Boris backs London's grassroots music scene

The Astoria closed down in 2009 Credit: Zak Hussein/PA

London has lost 35 per cent of its grassroots music venues since 2007 according to a report. The number of spaces programming new artists has dropped from 136 to just 88. The London's Grassroots Music Venues Rescue Plan, produced by the Mayor's Music Venues Taskforce, suggests that whilst London's music industry is generating billions for the economy it's under threat at a grassroots level.

The Mayor of London Boris Johnson says: 'From the Rolling Stones to David Bowie, the Clash to Oasis and Ed Sheeran to Adele, grassroots music venues have played a key role in enabling some of the biggest names in music to develop as artists and to build audiences. They are the incubators for the stars that go on to pack stadiums in London and across the world. The Music Venues Taskforce report makes it clear that protecting live music venues is crucial to London's continued position as the music capital of the world.

The Rescue Plan identifies a range of factors for grassroots music venues closing and continuing to be under threat. This includes rising rents and licensing restrictions; noise complaints by resident and landlords selling venues to developers to turn into housing.


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MP and Batmanghelidjh clash over 'objective' evidence

Camila Batmanghelidjh, the founder of Kids Company, has accused MPs of posing questions that are "based on elements of the media that have misrepresented the organisation".

"None of you have visited the organisation, you haven't had the opportunity to talk to any of the staff. You haven't accepted for evidence 43 letters that came from senior staff members and clients of the organisation", she said.

Chairman of Commons Public Administration Committee, Bernard Jenkin, said he could not accept the anonymous letters because they were not "objective" as they were submitted by Ms Batmanghelidjh.

"Get them to write to me separately and individually with their names", he insisted tersely.

Batmanghelidjh replied staff were unwilling to put their names on letters "because they feel unsafe". Mr Jenkin said he would ensure their confidentiality as he had previously informed her.

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Batmanghelidjh: 'We did not shred any client records'

Camila Batmanghelidjh, the founder of charity Kids Company has denied claims former staff were instructed to shred client records after the charity closed.

Camila Batmanghelidjh, founder of charity Kids Company.

She said: "That is completely incorrect. We did not shred any client records and the records were all handed over to the official receiver.

"What we handed over were 18,000 hard copy files that contained family members in them.

"In addition we handed over a database of our most high risk cases which amounted to 15,933 individuals. And we handed over copies of 117 referral forms we did.

She added that the 18,000 files now remained in secure storage.

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Yentob defends 'descend into savagery' warning email

Former Kids Company chairman of trustees Alan Yentob

Former Kids Company chairman of trustees, Alan Yentob, has defended a "shocking" email he sent warning that some communities helped by the charity could "descend into savagery" if the organisation had to close.

Labour MP Kate Hoey said it was a "really shocking thing to say about ordinary, decent people", and Mr Yentob replied "it was a safeguarding document intended to be a worst case scenario".

He added that five days after Kids Company closed a boy was murdered, and there were stabbings and four suicide attempts as the "consequence of the absence of a place for these children to go."


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Kids Company clients not given '100s of pounds' a week

During her questioning by MPs, Camila Batmanghelidjh was asked to provide details of "what sort of sums" were paid to individual children by the charity.

She replied: "The average that we did was entirely dependent on each child's circumstances, I can't pull out a figure for you".

Kids Company founder Camila Batmanghelidjh and Alan Yentob, the chairman of trustees, face MPs.

When she failed to give clear figures,committee chairman Bernard Jenkin said: "We're not going to get very far unless you answer the questions".

However, Ms Batmanghelidjh rejected reports that some children were given hundreds of pounds of week, saying, "No I haven't been handing out hundreds of pounds, each individual case had to be decided on its own merit".

When Mr Jenkins asked if it was the case that some over-18s were receiving more than £100pw, she said that would be "very rare and only if it was a family".

"It has turned into the notion that it [money] was handed out willy-nilly. It wasn't. It was accounted for," she added.

He went on to remind her that "it is a contempt of Parliament to mislead this committee", to which Ms Batmanghelidjh replied "yes".

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Kids Company founder faces MPs' questions over charity

Camila Batmanghelidjh addresses questions from MPs.

Camila Batmanghelidjh, the founder of charity Kids Company, is being questioned by the Commons Public Administration Committee over the running of the charity before its closure.

She began by describing the range of services that were offered and how they were allocated to "vulnerable" clients.

"We wrapped around the vulnerable individual a package of care in order to enhance their resilience and enable them to join society with greater ability", she said.

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