Nadine Dorries, who was announced as the UK Government’s new Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport in Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s cabinet reshuffle, has confirmed that the VAT increase on live event tickets will go ahead as planned. 

In July 2020, when some restrictions eased after the initial lockdown in the UK due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it was announced that VAT on live event tickets would drop to 5%. 

The VAT reduction originally ran until March 31, but this was further extended until September 30. 

Dorries was asked in the House of Commons by Conservative Member of Parliament David Warburton if the Government would be considering an extension on the VAT relief on tickets. 

She said: “I will be working closely with the Chancellor to discuss the support required for the live events sector, the 5% rate on VAT for event tickets has been extended until the 30 September 2021 when the 12.5% reduced rate will be introduced until March 2022. 

“We have already provided £21m to festivals and £2.5m to grassroots music venues through the Cultural Recovery Fund and the Reinsurance Scheme is designed to support the continuation of live events.”

The VAT reduction applied to businesses that helped with admissions such as shows, theatres, concerts, circuses, amusement parks, zoos and cinemas among others. The UK Government offered ‘planetariums, botanical gardens, studio and factory tours’ as examples of where the reduced rate could apply.

It did not apply to tickets to enter sporting events.

The temporarily reduced rate applied to admission fees only, or where goods were part of the admission fee, the whole supply was eligible. For example, a brewery or distillery tour where beverages may be included within the excursion.

Image: Biljana Martinić on Unsplash