Live Music

UK Music pleas for ticket VAT reduction in Budget

Image by Gabriel Doti from Pixabay

UK Music has urged Chancellor Jeremy Hunt to slash VAT on tickets in next week’s Budget to offer grassroots music venues a “vital lifeline”.

How The trade group wants the 20% VAT rate to be brought down to 10%. UK Music interim chief executive Tom Kiehl said this would be “a boost for consumers, music professionals and venues”.

The calls come amid mounting fears for the future of some music venues, which are contending with soaring costs. Around 125 grassroots music venues were lost in 2023, according to the Music Venue Trust (MVT) charity. Among the high-profile closures was Bath venue Moles, which helped launch the careers of Ed Sheeran, Oasis and Radiohead.

The call to cut VAT is among the recommendations that UK Music has made to the Government in its Budget submission, which outlines the support the sector needs to grow.

Boost investment at grassroots level

Kiehl said: “We urgently need to see some action from the Chancellor in the Budget to support the UK music industry at what is an immensely tough time for many venues and for those working in our sector.

“Cutting VAT on tickets to 10% would be a vital lifeline. It could mean the difference between saving and losing some of our most loved music venues. These are key parts of many local economies and communities.

“Reducing the tax burden will help boost investment at grassroots level and give local venues and economies across the UK a much-needed shot in the arm.”

How UK rate compares to Europe

According to UK Music, UK gig-goers pay almost double the EU average sales tax rate on tickets of 10.3%. This is around triple the rate in countries like Belgium (6%) and Germany (7%). The 20% rate is the third highest rate in Europe, with rates higher in only Denmark and Lithuania.

The Budget submission is based upon UK Music’s Manifesto for Music, which was published last year and sets out five key recommendations. These included a call to “secure a fair deal for music lovers by ending rip-off secondary ticketing practices.”

UK Music said: “The manifesto outlines how the Government should develop a comprehensive music strategy. This will help the industry grow and take on the growing competition from overseas.”