Industry News

How do the parties shape up on ticketing policies?

Labour is the only major political party to include a pledge on secondary ticketing in its manifesto ahead of Thursday’s General Election.

While the Conservatives, Labour and the Liberal Democrats have each made some reference to matters that relate to the ticketing sector, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn – who has been backed by rock magazine Kerrang and entertainers such as Stormzy, Russell Brand and Steve Coogan – may well have had young eventgoers on his mind when promising to act on the Waterson Review.

However, it is not explained how Labour will go further than the Digital Economy Act, which was passed just before Parliament dissolved and featured anti-bots legislation and tough new rules proposed by Professor Michael Waterson last year.

“The broken ticketing market in the UK means tickets sell out instantly and are put up at vastly inflated prices on ticket-tout websites,” the Labour manifesto reads. “Labour will enforce anti-bot legislation and implement the recommendations of the Waterson Review to ensure fair opportunities for fans to buy tickets.”

Big step forward

While the Tories did not mention ticketing in their manifesto, the Digital Economy Act was deemed important enough to be rushed through in the final days of the last Parliament.

Speaking this week to Music Week, Culture Secretary and prospective Conservative Matt Hancock said: “I’m incredibly proud of the measures that I put through to make bots in secondary ticket markets illegal at scale.

“It has become a big problem, so I’m delighted that the last law Parliament passed before the election was the law to ban secondary ticketing harvesting in large numbers by bots. I hope that we can win the election so that we can see that put into practice. It’s a big step forward and it’ll have a big impact.”

Labour also said it wants to work with various organisations to prevent fans losing train travel money when football fixture dates are changed. With many football fans railing against high ticket prices, Labour’s promise to legislate for accredited supporters trusts to be able to appoint and remove at least two club directors could lead to supporters’ views on the subject being taken more seriously.

Safe standing

The Liberal Democrats said they will move towards introducing ‘safe standing’ at football clubs, promising to “require[e] the Sports Grounds Safety Authority to prepare guidance for implementing this change”.

The party said it will also “examine the available funding and planning rules for live music venues and the grassroots music sector, protecting venues from further closures”.

Image: Nick Youngson