The UK government has a “golden opportunity” to save music venues, according to live music industry umbrella organisation LIVE (Live music Industry Venues and Entertainment). The group has called on prime minister Rishi Sunak to boost the sector with next month’s Spring Budget, which chancellor Jeremy Hunt will announce on March 15th 2023.
The appeal includes reinstating a lower rate of VAT of 5% in line with international comparison and to follow through on his promises to cut business rates. This comes after a drop in the industry post-pandemic when the Music Venue Trust stated there was a “serious problem with Grassroots Music Venues and it was going to need decisive action.” Previous budgets failed to respond to inflationary increases in rent and services in excess of 20% across the sector. Overall, the aim is to create jobs and more live events across the country to generate investment.
LIVE includes the Association of Independent Festivals, Association of Festival Organisers, Concert Promoters Association, National Arenas Association, and Production Services Association. The CEO, Jon Collins, said: “The live music sector is a catalyst for economic activity right across the UK but many businesses are still reeling from the pandemic. Combined with rising costs, an uncompetitive tax system is holding back a sector-wide resurgence. The Government has a golden opportunity to turbo-boost the industry by reintroducing the 5% rate of VAT on ticket sales in the upcoming Spring Budget. This change would help return live music to full strength, protect much loved grassroots venues, and mean even more amazing festivals, concerts, and gigs in towns and cities across the country.”
Collins will be a key speaker at the Event Production Show conference this week and will join with industry heads to discuss how the industry can appeal to the government to contribute. Others include the Parklife co-founder and Greater Manchester night-time economy adviser Sacha Lord as well as Boomtown operations director Judy Bec.