The Night Time Industries Association (NTIA) and Save Our Scene UK (SOS) have partnered to launch ‘Culture Calling’ – a campaign calling for a VAT reduction to 12.5% for cultural and hospitality sectors in the November budget.

A demonstration organised by SOS and NTIA is to take place on 18 November in London, with the exact location still to be announced. It is being billed as the UK’s largest cultural march to date.

SOS and NTIA have called out the government’s “indifference” towards festivals, live music venues, theatres and nightclubs, which they said has left millions of businesses and jobs “high and dry” in times of crisis.

In the coming four weeks, SOS and NTIA will visit cities across the UK, raising awareness through events, interviews and activations. Brands such as RESY/DENCY, Jubel Beer, Riot Noise and NDML have also shown their support for Culture Calling.

According to research by The Caterer, more than 3.8 million freelance workers were left behind during the pandemic, with more than 13,000 night time economy and hospitality businesses sacrificed since March 2020.

In 2019 the UK night time economy generated more than £116 billion in revenue, employing 1.94 million people and attracting 300 million nightlife tourists to the UK. Recent figures have shown a 20 billion drop in revenue leading to 2022 and beyond.

NTIA CEO Michael Kill said, “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.”

Save our Scene CEO George Fleming said, “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.” 

Sacha Lord, co-founder of The Warehouse Project and Parklife, and Night Time Economy Adviser for Greater Manchester said, Our sector is taxed more than any other country in Europe, where VAT averages between 8/9%. Everyone knows the cliff edge we are at and yet, our cries for help and support are falling on deaf ears.

“VAT should be 12.5% across the board for the sector. It’ll save businesses and jobs. I call on everyone to get behind us, turn up and let our voices be heard. Strength in numbers.”