Following Jeremy Hunt’s Autumn Statement, in which he outlined that millions of consumers coping with escalating living costs will be forced to pay more in tax, the live music industry has aired frustration that the sector is not being sufficiently supported.

LIVE (Live music Industry Venues & Entertainment) CEO Jon Collins, whose organisation represents 14 live music industry associations, said that while it welcomes the Government’s desire to bring stability to the UK economy, the Autumn Statement offers little help to secure the future of the £4.5 billion industry and the 200,000 people it employs.

He said, “Unprecedented operating conditions are pushing our sector to the brink, as much-loved venues close their doors, tours are cancelled and artists drop out of the industry.

“The pandemic hangover combined with the increased cost of living has led to 54% of people stating they are less disposed to attending live entertainment, putting incredible pressure on the live music sector. Today, we renew our call for a reintroduction of a lower VAT rate on ticket sales to inject cash into the bottom line of struggling businesses, bring us in line with many other European countries, and secure the future of live music for all.”

Following the chancellor’s statement today, 17 November, grassroots music venue support body Music Venue Trust (MVT) has called on the Government to set up a live music commission.

MVT welcomed the news that retail, hospitality, and leisure relief on business rates, which includes the majority of UK grassroots music venues, will be extended from 50% to 75% from 1 April 2023, but it has requested the Treasury clarifies the support level being offered to venues with values in excess of £110,000.

It has also called on the Government to bring forward its promised review of business rates on grassroots music venues, and with the UK having the highest rate of VAT in Europe on live music tickets; MVT has called for it to be reduced.

The organisation has also suggested a live music commission be charged with considering the opportunities to stabilise and grow the live music sector, with the aim of informing future Government policy.

It said, “A live music commission can provide the Government with the tools it needs to be able to recognise the incredible asset the UK has in its grassroots music venues and ensure that future policy protects, secures and improves them.”