Save Our Scene UK (SOS) and the Night Time Industries Association (NTIA) have launched a major campaign targeting the UK Government’s stance on the cultural and hospitality sectors.
Ahead of the upcoming Budget next month, SOS and the NTIA have said that they will no longer tolerate the UK Government’s ‘negligence’ towards the two sectors, and have demanded a VAT reduction to 12.5%.
The ‘Culture Calling’ campaign, according to a release from the NTIA and SOS, is to stand up for pubs, nightclubs, live music venues, festivals, bars, restaurants, cafes and theatres. It was felt that almost four million freelance workers were left behind during the pandemic, with over 13,000 night time economy and hospitality businesses lost since March 2020.
Prior to the pandemic in 2019, according to the NTIA, the UK’s night time economy generated more than £116bn (€134bn/$141bn) in revenue, employed 1.94 million people and attracted 300 million nightlife tourists.
The trade association and membership organisation added that this dropped by $20bn in revenue leading up to 2022 and beyond, with one in three venues and nightclubs lost due to the current economic climate.
‘Culture Calling’ is demanding the VAT reduction to bring the UK in line with European counterparts, which could salvage businesses and safeguard livelihoods.
Not only this, but SOS and the NTIA are set to visit cities across the UK to raise awareness through events, interviews and activations. This will conclude with a cultural march on November 18 in London.
“The ‘Culture Calling’ demonstration is an opportunity for us all to come together and show our unwavering support for the businesses and artists who make our nightlife and cultural scene so unique,” said Michael Kill, chief executive of the NTIA.
“We urge the Government to listen to our collective voice and reduce VAT to 12.5% in the Autumn Budget. It’s time to secure the future of our culture and economy.”
George Fleming, chief executive of Save Our Scene, added: “This campaign is not just about the night-time economy; it’s about safeguarding our identity, creativity, and the very soul of our communities. The ‘Culture Calling’ rally is a call to action, a call to preserve our cultural heritage, which our society has always depended on and continues to do so. If we continue to allow this attack on our culture, we will be looking at a very bleak future.”