Industry Underwhelmed as Budget Fails to Impress

Missed opportunities and failure. This week's Chancellor.

After a brief period of cork-popping for those looking to pop more than £40k per in pension pots at imminent risk of bursting through the £1m lifetime allowance (no, me neither), the live entertainment business carried out a thorough but ultimately fruitless search for moves that support our journey from  miraculous survival to re-established pillar of our cultural economy. Still, at least he didn’t take anything away…just.

The mood was expertly encapsulated by LIVE CEO, John Collins:

“In today’s Budget, the Government has missed a golden opportunity to support the hardest hit in our sector, as well as turbocharging the whole industry to programme more gigs, shows and festivals up and down the country. This would deliver millions into local economies and support the Chancellor’s ambition for the UK to be a dynamic enterprise economy.

The Government could have backed the grassroots of the UK’s live music sector, including a whole host of budding artists, SMEs and independent venues, as they recover from the damage inflicted by the pandemic; a recovery hampered by double digit inflation and the subsequent cost of production and cost-of-living crisis.

At the same time, the Government could have taken steps to accelerate activity for more established artists, suppliers and venues that would have poured millions into local economies across the UK.

LIVE welcomes the extension of orchestra tax relief, but there is no reason it should not be extended to support the wider commercial music sector as well. This would drive further economic activity and tourism all over the country.

The UK’s live music industry is of huge economic importance – worth over £4.5 billion and growing five times the rate of the wider economy prior to the pandemic – but without Government intervention, the sector will continue to struggle to reach its full potential.

The failure to reinstate a 5% rate of VAT on tickets in line with international comparisons, and fulfil the Prime Minister’s campaign promise to cut business rates will cause unnecessary damage to a sector which has a footprint in every city and town across the country.

LIVE continues to ask that the Government help our sector to survive and thrive through:

  1. Cutting business rates
  2. Reinstating a lower rate of 5% VAT on tickets (in line with international comparisons)”

So, missed opportunities and failure then.