Live Music

Sector’s reaction to Labour’s UK election win

Featured Image: Chris McAndrew/ CC BY 3.0/ Edited for size

The Labour Party’s overnight election victory in the UK has prompted congratulations from the live entertainment industry’s bodies, with continued calls for support for multiple sectors. 

Labour’s victory could also mean changes for resale ticketing companies in the UK.

Earlier this year, Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer vowed in a speech to cap the resale prices of sport and music tickets, while placing further regulations on resale platforms, should the party come to power.

These promises were backed up in Labour’s manifesto, which read: “Access to music, drama and sport has become difficult and expensive because of ticket touting. Labour will put fans back at the heart of events by introducing new consumer protections on ticket resale.”

Elsewhere, UK Music chief executive Tom Kiehl congratulated Sir Keir Starmer on his victory, but called on the new Prime Minister to help boost jobs, growth and opportunity across the sector.

Kiehl added: “The incoming Labour Government has been elected on a platform to implement a plan for the creative sector as part of its industrial strategy. The potential of the UK music industry to contribute to growth must be at the heart of this plan.

“The music industry is facing a number of challenges, but also opportunities. A strong relationship between UK Music and the new Government will be essential to navigating what the rest of this decade brings.”

It is not only live music and nurturing future talent that is on the agenda for sector bodies, but also the UK’s night time economy.

Michael Kill, chief executive of the Night Time Industries Association (NTIA), also welcomed the new Labour Government, but said the “real work begins now” after the sector felt “years of neglect through the cost of living crisis and the pandemic”.

Kill urged the new government to address tax disparity, reform business rates, protect independent operators, and align VAT with European standards.

There were further calls for the appointment of a dedicated Minister for the Night Time Economy, with the role to ensure focused attention for the nightlife sector.

“Independent businesses and culture have suffered heavily over the last four years. Rebuilding and protecting existing businesses, creating a foundation for the future, and funding grassroots spaces and cultural events are essential for recovery,” commented Kill.

“Implementing a heritage protection scheme for venues and cultural spaces will go some way to ensuring the preservation of venues that are integral to our communities. It is crucial to quickly establish a strong working foundation to support the industry in creating safe, culturally enriched cities and towns across the UK.”

The Association of Independent Festivals’ CEO John Rostron called on the new Prime Minister and the incoming Culture Secretary to lower VAT on festival ticket sales to 5% to mitigate independent festival closures in the UK. 

Some 50 festivals have been cancelled in the UK this year alone.

Rostron also called for further protection for smaller venues, and added: “We hope, also, that this Government will take forward the recommendations of the CMS [Culture, Media and Sport Committee] inquiry into grassroots music venues.”

Theatre and the arts

The Society of London Theatre (SOLT) & UK Theatre also welcomed the new government, and offered to collaborate in breaking down the barriers to culture and the arts. 

Key priorities from SOLT & UK Theatre for the new government include expanding cultural access by funding a theatre visit for every child before they leave school; co-creating a sustainable system for investment in theatre buildings; and collaborating with the theatre sector to strategically review public investment in the arts. 

“We very much look forward to working with the new government to champion our world-class theatre sector and deliver the conditions it needs to thrive, such as realising our vision of every child attending the theatre before they leave school,” commented SOLT & UK Theatre co-CEOs Claire Walker and Hannah Essex. 

“It was great to see our new Prime Minister visit one of our members, the Lyric Hammersmith, during the campaign and see the contribution theatre makes to communities across the UK, entertaining and inspiring local audiences as well as delivering extensive community outreach work.

“We are well placed and stand ready to help the government achieve their missions of kick starting the economy and breaking down the barriers to opportunity through the power of theatre.”

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