SOLT and UK Theater Join Live Entertainment Industry Leaders in Open Letter to Government

Leaders from the music, theater and events industries have come together to urgently appeal to the government to maintain the 5% VAT rate on ticket sales, put in place to help the government. industry under siege last year. The appeal was made in a letter to Chancellor Rishi Sunak, ahead of the March budget, and was signed by heads of leading associations representing thousands of companies in the industry.

To support these leading industries, the government reduced the VAT rate on ticket sales from 20% to 5%. The move was widely hailed at the time as it was hoped it would help revitalize businesses devastated by the pandemic, but industries are yet to benefit as they have been almost completely shut down since last March. If the government increases VAT now, it will have been unnecessary policy and will withdraw millions of pounds of support just when it is needed most.

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

Julian Bird, Managing Director of SOLT and UK Theater, said:

“The theater industry, alongside others in the performing arts and live events industry, was first shut down last March and will almost certainly be one of the last to come out. With a typical annual audience of over $ 34million, generating around £ 1billion for the Treasury each year, UK theaters are a huge contributor to the economic and cultural life of this country and will be key to local recovery. It is vital that the government helps ensure the survival of the industry by pursuing reduced VAT rates.

The select committee of the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sports recommended a three-year extension of the 5% VAT policy in its report “Impacts of COVID-19 on DCMS sectors” in July of l ‘last year.

Julian Knight, MP, chairman of the Digital, Culture, Media and Sports Committee said: “Now withdrawing the reduced VAT rate for ticket sales would be shortsighted. The DCMS committee recommended in its July 2020 report that the 5% VAT rate be maintained for three years. As live events still cannot work, this is needed more than ever. I fully support LIVE’s campaign. Now is the time to extend our support to our vibrant creative sector, which could be the cornerstone of our economic recovery from this crisis. “

Lucy Noble, President of the National Arenas Association, said: “The entire industry has been brought to its knees by the pandemic. Raising VAT on tickets by 400% right now could be the last nail in the coffin for many in the music industry. And precisely when people urgently need the joy of music in their lives.

Before the outbreak of the pandemic, the UK’s creative industries were growing five times that of the economy at large, generating £ 11.25 billion in GVA each year and supporting over 600,000 jobs. Without urgent and targeted government intervention, the businesses, producers, performers and infrastructure that support this industry’s complex ecosystem will not be able to recover once the pandemic is over.