The U.K. government has unveiled an initiative to provide more rehearsal space to young musicians.

Feargal Sharkey, former chair of the Live Music Forum, has been tasked with setting-up a network of affordable, fully-equipped practise studios across the country to encourage more youngsters to start making music.

"Young musicians need somewhere decent to practice. Without new musicians and performers there is no £6 billion ($12.3 billion) music industry," Sharkey said in a statement.

"But this isn't just about what we can do for the music industry. It's about ensuring young people have all the opportunity and support that we can possibly provide to get them into the creative industries...And it's simply about giving them somewhere to be creative."

A recent report issued by the Live Music Forum found that 43% of young people who wanted to participate in music activity did not, citing lack of facilities or huge costs.

Sharkey, the former frontman of punk era band the Undertones, will work with key music industry figures, local and regional government, equipment suppliers, the Music Manifesto Board and others to set up the network.

The Culture and Young People's Secretary James Purnell said in a statement. "This is about inspiring young people to take up music, giving them an outlet for their creativity and getting them off the streets."

A pilot opened January 2006 in Wrexham, Wales. The local council donated some space in a local building free of charge and the Music Industries Association provided instruments and equipment.

According to figures reported by the U.K. government's Department for Culture, Media and Sport, more than 700 people -- the majority of whom were under 18 -- used the rehearsal studio between May and August 2006.