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Calls grow to ditch impending VAT hike on concert tickets

UK Music chief executive Jamie Njoku-Goodwin has written to UK Chancellor Rishi Sunak to reconsider an impending VAT hike on concert tickets.

The Chancellor is set to outline a mini-Budget for the country on March 23 in his Spring Statement. The VAT rise is set to come into force from April 1.

Currently, the VAT on concert tickets stands at 12.5% and will rise to 20%. It had originally been cut to 5% in July 2020 to help the sector recover during the COVID-19 pandemic, before being increased to its current rate in October last year.

This is not the first time UK Music, an umbrella organisation for the music industry, has called for the UK Government to put a halt to the VAT tax rise.

The call to ditch the VAT hike is just one point of Njoku-Goodwin’s letter to the Chancellor, as he is also asking for Sunak to consider extending the current 50% discount on business rates on music venues.

He is also calling for more funding to help British performers touring the EU, a Music Export Office to help boost sales of British music abroad, as well as the music industry being able to enjoy the same type of tax breaks as UK film, TV and video companies.

The letter further outlines the need for more help for the self-employed in the industry, as they make up two-thirds of the UK music sector.

Njoku-Goodwin said: “The planned hike in VAT could not come at a worse time for millions of music fans and the live music industry, which was shut down for almost two years due to the pandemic.

“We saw during those grim periods of lockdown just how important music was to people’s mental health and how it helped us get through really tough times.

“Pushing up VAT to 20% would be hugely damaging for the music industry and leave music fans facing a cost of gigging crisis. The rise would come at a time when we are rebuilding post-COVID-19, with hundreds of concerts planned over the next few months.

“We would urge the Chancellor to give people who already face rising prices and grim headlines every day a little lift by ditching the ticket tax and abandoning the VAT hike.”

Image: UK Music