Rishi Sunak urged to scrap ‘damaging’ VAT hike on ticket prices

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Rishi Sunak has been urged to scrap a major VAT hike on concert and live event ticket prices.

The 7.5% increase, which is due to come into effect on April 1, comes ahead of the Chancellor’s spring statement on March 23, when he will present a mini-budget.

VAT is currently charged at 12.5% ​​on tickets to live events, but Sunak plans to restore the tax return to its pre-pandemic level of 20%.

British music chief Jamie Njoku-Goodwin wrote to the chancellor before the mini-budget in order to eliminate the tax hike.

“The planned VAT hike couldn’t come at a worse time for millions of music fans and the live music industry, which has been shut down for almost two years due to the pandemic,” he said. -he writes.

“Raising VAT to 20% would be extremely damaging to the music industry and leave music fans facing a crisis in the cost of concerts. The hike would come at a time when we are rebuilding post-COVID-19, with hundreds of concerts planned over the next few months.

Download fans 2021 CREDIT: Katja Ogrin/Getty Images

He went on to address Sunak: “We urge the Chancellor to give a little boost to people who already face rising prices and grim headlines every day by scrapping the ticket tax and dropping the increase in VAT. Dropping the planned VAT hike would help keep ticket prices low for fans and help music companies pay off the debts they racked up during the pandemic, generate thousands of new jobs and nurture people. new talents.

“It would help the music industry continue to recover and rebuild from the COVID-19 pandemic, which has wiped out approximately one in three jobs in our sector.”

UK Music also called for a six-point plan including extending the current 50% discount on professional concert hall prices and more funding to help UK artists touring the EU with the costs. additional costs and post-Brexit bureaucracy.

He is also calling for a music export office to help boost sales of British music overseas, which fell 23% from £2.9bn in 2019 to £2.3bn in 2020 due to COVID-19.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak at the London Wonderground comedy and music festival on August 5, 2021 in London, England. CREDIT: Peter Nicholls – WPA Pool/Getty Images

It comes after Sunak was previously criticized for his handling of the Brexit touring fiasco – as well as potential future arrangements for nightclubs and music venues.

Talk to NME In the days before a new £750million government-backed insurance scheme for concerts and festivals was announced, the Chancellor said it was ‘very, very good news’ for British touring artists.

Asked if he would financially support the proposed export office specifically to help UK artists tour and promote their music overseas, he added: “We already have existing budgets that the Department of International Trade manages to help promote exports of all types. We are opening new markets, and this is part of our post-Brexit future: creating strong links with other markets. For example, the terms we have agreed with Australia allow for greater mobility of young people between our countries, which young people will appreciate, especially in this industry which has a lot of young people. ”

Meanwhile, live music industry executives and insiders recently slammed the UK government’s “mindlessness” and spoke of the problems that remain for artists and teams wishing to tour in Europe, a year after they had the feeling that the sector had received a “No Deal”. Brexit”.

Highlighting the issue in the House of Commons, Kevin Brennan, Labor MP and member of the DCMS Select Committee, told Jacob Rees-Mogg, the Conservative leader of the House of Commons, that the government had not been active enough and engaged to help overcome the remaining obstacles. hurdles for live music on the continent and references our recent article on the lingering frustration surrounding post-Brexit touring.

Rees-Mogg defended the Government’s current stance and approach to artists wishing to tour the EU post-Brexit and said he had ‘not read the New musical express this morning, or indeed any morning that I can remember.

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