Chancellor does not protect “cultural crown jewel”, says live music industry

The live music sector has slammed the Chancellor’s spring statement for failing to protect “one of Britain’s cultural crown jewels”.

Industry groups welcomed the discount on business tariffs announced by Rishi Sunak in the House of Commons on Wednesday.

However, they said the package cannot address the ongoing impact of Covid-19 on the cultural sector, as well as increases in rents, supplies and services.


Chancellor Rishi Sunak speaks in the House of Commons (House of Commons/PA)

Greg Parmley, chief executive of music industry group Live, said: “Live music is facing new and unprecedented challenges that threaten to ruin one of Britain’s cultural crown jewels – a 7.5% increase in VAT on tickets, increases in wholesale costs and major ticket cancellations rising Covid cases. At the same time, the last remaining government aid will be withdrawn.

“While we welcome the reduction in business tax rates, we need further measures that can provide a cash injection to all parts of the sector, such as: B. VAT measures.”

Paul Reed, executive director of the Association of Independent Festivals (AIF), said he was “disappointed” that the Chancellor had not responded to her calls for an extension of the 12.5% ​​VAT rate on festival tickets beyond March.

He added: “Festival organizers are seeing cost increases of between 20% and 30%, well beyond rapidly rising inflation, with extreme pressures across the supply chain.

“We urge the government to look again at this and to keep the reduced VAT rate.”

Mark Davyd, chief executive of the Music Venue Trust, said the Chancellor’s spring statement failed to address the “extraordinary financial pressures” concert halls are facing.

He said: “Music Venue Trust warmly welcomes the business rate rebate, which will maintain the 50% business rate announced by the Government before the pandemic for grassroots music venues.

“Without action for businesses on energy bills, NI (National Insurance) liability and the missed opportunity to take action on VAT that would help the sector recover from the Covid crisis, the outcome of the Budget, that none of the exceptional financial burdens placed at venues have been mitigated or alleviated.”

Micheal Kill, executive director of the Night Time Industries Association, cited factors including the ongoing impact of Covid-19 on ticket sales, increased operating costs and a holiday season heavily influenced by the Omicron variant.

He added: “For all these reasons, ahead of the spring declaration, we asked the Chancellor to come up with a package that includes an extension of VAT and tax breaks for businesses, a cancellation of the proposed NI increase, and measures on businesses’ energy bills and fuel tax.” to give the sector financial headroom to survive in something resembling its pre-pandemic form.

“It’s very disappointing that he didn’t take any of those steps today.”

Caroline Norbury, chief executive of the Creative Industries Federation, said the rise in inflation will have a “debilitating impact”, particularly on freelancers, entrepreneurs and those just starting out in their careers.

She called on the government to “support UK freelancers, encourage creative investment and unleash creative ideas”.

She added: “Crucial steps need to be taken in the run-up to the Autumn Budget if we are to truly unlock the potential of the UK’s creative industries and ensure opportunities are open to all.” Chancellor does not protect “cultural crown jewel”, says live music industry

Fry Electronics Team

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