Budget urges to apply for UK live music commission

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The UK’s Music Venue Trust (MVT) is calling on the government to set up a live music commission after criticizing the ‘missed opportunities’ in today’s budget presented by Chancellor Jeremy Hunt.

The organization welcomes Hunt’s announcement, made as part of his autumn statement, that business rate relief will be extended from 50% to 75% from 1 April 2023 and urges the Chancellor and the Prime Minister to present a comprehensive review of the matter for grassroots sites “at the earliest opportunity”.

However, there has been further frustration for the industry, as calls to cut VAT on ticketing have once again been ignored.

“A live music commission can provide the government with the tools it needs to be able to recognize the incredible strength of the UK in its grassroots music venues”

“Multiple opportunities to stabilize and grow the live music industry are consistently missed,” says Mark Davyd, CEO of MVT. “Our popular concert hall sector creates 29,000 jobs, offering more than 170,000 performances to more than 20 million people. This is a vital sector with real opportunities for growth, but this is not recognized and implemented in this fall statement.

“In light of these missed opportunities, Music Venue Trust is calling on the government to set up a live music commission. This body can be tasked with examining significant opportunities for stabilization and growth in the live music sector, with the aim of informing future government policy so that these opportunities are not systematically missed.

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

“Unprecedented operating conditions are pushing our industry 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 industry’s future living in the UK.

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

“The pandemic hangover combined with the rising cost of living has led to 54% of people saying they are less willing to attend shows, putting incredible pressure on the live music industry. Today we are renewing our call for the reintroduction of a reduced VAT rate on ticket sales to inject money into the bottom line of struggling businesses, bring us into line with many other European countries and future of live music for all.

“While businesses should be preparing for the busiest time of the year, they must now think about 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 criticizes the budget for its perceived lack of clarity and suggests that the measures described do not go far enough.

“This government is guilty of neglecting thousands of businesses and millions of employees and freelancers in the night economy, this budget has not gone far enough and still lacks clarity, and will undoubtedly see a large number of SMEs [small and medium enterprises] and independent companies disappear in the coming months,” says NTIA chief Michael Kill.

“While businesses should be preparing for the busiest time of the year, now they need to think about their future and will remember the fourth failed attempt to provide a budget to protect businesses at the height of the crisis. It there is no consideration for human impact, it will have a devastating effect not only on business owners, but also on the individuals and families who have dedicated their lives and livelihoods to this sector.


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