Industry News

Matt Hancock appointed Culture Secretary

FanFair Alliance has welcomed the appointment of ticketing sector reform advocate Matt Hancock as the UK’s new Culture Secretary.

Hancock, who helped push through the Digital Economy Act during his time as Minister of State for Digital and Culture, replaces Karen Bradley, who has become the Northern Ireland Secretary.

Just last week Hancock, MP for West Suffolk, said the Government was keen to pursue policies that ensure that music fans have a fair chance of obtaining tickets at a reasonable price.

Speaking about Hancock’s promotion, Adam Webb of campaign group FanFair Alliance told TheTicketingBusiness: “I suspect everyone involved in the politics of music will be delighted to hear of Matt Hancock’s promotion.

“As well as championing the UK’s artists and songwriters, his interest in tackling some long-term injustices, such as Form 696 and online ticket touting, has been notable – and impactful.

“From the conversations we’ve had, he really understands the depth of these issues and how Government can help sensibly resolve them.

“With continued support we hope to see some major improvements to the ticket resale market in 2018.”

Hancock pushed for the Digital Economy Act to be ratified before Parliament was dissolved for the General Election last year. The law makes it illegal to use software to bypass limits on the maximum number of tickets that can be bought. Primary ticket firms will be encouraged to report bot attacks to police, while operators must also introduce tougher anti-bot measures and there will be stronger enforcement of existing consumer rights laws.

At the time Hancock said: “This profiteering is simply not fair, so we are acting to put fans first and improve the chances of seeing our favourite musicians and sports stars at a reasonable price.”

In an interview with the NME last week, Hancock added that the legislation outlawing bots is just part of a range of measures designed to prevent scalpers from inflating prices.

He did not rule out the introduction of price caps, but added: “Venues can choose not to allow re-sale above face value, and some do. As we found in the Waterson Review published last year, fans overwhelmingly want the chance to re-sell a ticket if they can’t use them and have a functioning secondary market.”

IMAGE: Maurice (Parliament)