Charities and artists are appealing for the Government to maintain 5% VAT rate on gig tickets

Virgin Radio

4 Feb 2021, 17:26

The music industry as a whole has had a tough year so far with the pandemic leading to cancelled tours and festivals. 

Artists, charities and leading figures in the industry are appealing to the UK Government to keep the 5 percent VAT rate on ticket sale where it is. The rate was slashed last year in a bid to help out. 

An open letter has been signed by many within the industry, addressed to Chancellor Rishi Sunak ahead of March’s budget.

Venues now fear that the VAT rate could rise to 20 percent, when they haven't had chance to benefit from the 5% at all due to the ongoing pandemic. 

Greg Parmley is the CEO of LIVE (Live music Industry, Venues & Entertainment), and said: “The live music industry supports hundreds of thousands of skilled jobs across the UK and brings in billions of pounds for the UK economy. This policy was brought in to support our industry during these desperate times but currently we are still closed. Reversing this policy before we can start to sell tickets again would be perverse and cripple our recovery.”

Mark Davyd, the CEO of the Music Venue Trust, he appealed on social media: “Your government cut VAT on tickets to 5% last year. This was a sensible, budgeted, intelligently designed intervention that achieved the aim of providing maximum support to the music industry at the minimum cost and administration.

“Since announcing that year long VAT break, hardly a single ticket has been sold. The financial support offered hasn’t yet been used, and it is still badly needed for our industry to recover. You, as Chancellor, designed a sensible package of support that would have real impact. You budgeted for how much it would cost, and planned for it to be delivered. It couldn’t then be delivered.

“Don’t take away that offer of support. Let the industry use it the way you always planned it would, to support our recovery and to invest back into the people and businesses who have lost so much in this crisis.”

Julian Knight MP, Chair of the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee, adds: “Pulling the plug on the reduced VAT rate for ticket sales now would be short-sighted. The DCMS Committee recommended in its July 2020 report that the 5 percent VAT rate should be kept for three years.

“With live events still unable to operate, this is needed more than ever. I fully support LIVE’s campaign. Now is the time to extend support for our vibrant creative sector, which could be a cornerstone of our economic recovery from this crisis.”

Fingers crossed the letter receives the response many are hoping for.