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Budget prompts call for UK live music commission

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt's Autumn Statement has brought further frustration for the biz, as pleas to reduce VAT on ticketing went unanswered

By James Hanley on 17 Nov 2022

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt


image © Richard Townshend

The UK’s Music Venue Trust (MVT) is calling on the government to set up a live music commission after criticising the “missed opportunities” of today’s budget presented by chancellor Jeremy Hunt.

The organisation welcomes Hunt’s announcement, delivered as part of his Autumn Statement, that business rates relief will be extended from 50% to 75% from 1 April 2023 and urges the chancellor and PM to bring forward a full review of the issue for grassroots venues “at the earliest opportunity”.

However there was further frustration for the industry, as pleas to reduce VAT on ticketing were ignored once more.

“A live music commission can provide the government with the tools it needs to be able to recognise the incredible asset the UK has in its grassroots music venues”

“Multiple opportunities to stabilise and grow the live music sector are being consistently missed,” says MVT CEO Mark Davyd. “Our grassroots music venue sector creates 29,000 jobs, delivering over 170,000 performances to more than 20 million people. It is a vital sector with real opportunities to deliver growth, but that is not recognised and acted upon in this Autumn Statement.

“In light of these missed opportunities, Music Venue Trust calls for the government to set up a live music commission. This body can be charged with considering the significant opportunities to stabilise and grow the live music sector, with the aim of informing future government policy so that these opportunities are not consistently missed.

“A live music commission can provide the government with the tools it needs to be able to recognise the incredible asset the UK has in its grassroots music venues and ensure that future policy protects, secures and improves them.”

“Unprecedented operating conditions are pushing our sector to the brink”

Jon Collins, CEO of trade body LIVE, acknowledges the government’s desire to bring stability to the UK economy, but says the budget offers “little help” to secure the future of the UK’s live industry.

“Unprecedented operating conditions are pushing our sector to the brink, as much-loved venues close their doors, tours are cancelled and artists drop out of the industry,” he says.

“The pandemic hangover combined with the increased cost of living has led to 54% of people stating they are less disposed to attending live entertainment, putting incredible pressure on the live music sector. Today, we renew our call for a reintroduction of a lower VAT rate on ticket sales to inject cash into the bottom line of struggling businesses, bring us in line with many other European countries, and secure the future of live music for all.”

“When businesses should be preparing for the busiest period of the year, they are now having to consider their future”

The Night Time Industries Association (NTIA), which has more than 1,400 members, including nightclubs, bars, casinos, festivals, and supply chain businesses ,also criticises the budget for a perceived lack of clarity and suggests the measures outlined do not gone far enough.

“This government is guilty of neglecting thousands of businesses and millions of employees and freelancers across the night time economy, this budget has not gone far enough and still lacks clarity, and will without doubt see a huge swathe of SMEs [small and medium enterprises] and independent businesses disappear in the coming months,” says NTIA chief Michael Kill.

“When businesses should be preparing for the busiest period of the year, they are now having to consider their future, and will remember the fourth failed attempt to deliver a budget to safeguard businesses at the sharpest end of the crisis. There is no consideration for the human impact, this will have a devastating effect on not only business owners, but the individuals and families who have committed their lives and livelihoods to this sector.”

 


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