Several of the UK’s leading live music industry professionals have voiced both their concerns and support following Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s 2021 Budget and Spending Review, unveiled 27 October.
The Association of Independent Festivals (AIF) CEO Paul Reed said he looks forward to hearing more detail about some measures outlined by the Chancellor, including the allocation of further Covid-19 recovery funding for the cultural sector.
Reed said the Budget does not go far enough in supporting the festival industry: “It is clear that the most effective way for the Government to support the industry’s recovery into 2022 and beyond would be to extend the VAT reduction on tickets, look closely at a permanent cultural VAT rate, and completely remove festivals based on agricultural land from the business rates system. Unfortunately, none of this was forthcoming today.”
BPI chief executive Geoff Taylor had a more positive response to the Budget: “We hope to see an ambitious approach to the Music Export Growth Scheme (MEGS) and the promotion and protection of IP in all future trade deals. It’s also positive to see business rates cut for hospitality and leisure businesses, but more could be done to help the industry recover, including music tax incentives to help boost jobs and economic growth.”
LIVE CEO Greg Parmley said he was glad to see that live music will receive some benefit from the Spending Review, including tax relief, business rates, and some extension in terms of funding. But Parmley added, “With the word ‘music’ completely absent from today’s announcement, we remain steadfast in our drive to see Government pay attention to the key issues we are facing: the impacts of Brexit, the recovery from Covid and the long-term growth of the sector. We need Government to give us the tools to make progress, which were unfortunately missing from today’s news.”
The Association of Independent Music (AIM) CEO Paul Pacifico said it was encouraging to see the Government recognise the “serious blow” Covid-19 dealt to the UK’s music industry in the Budget, and welcomed new measures for venues and hospitality. But he said more needs to be done to support the independent music sector to ensure a “viable future for diverse music, creators and entrepreneurs.”
Pacifico said, “One key proposal is a tax relief scheme for music, like those successfully implemented in other creative industries such as film and games. This cost-effective measure could provide our sector with the boost it needs, attracting inward investment and creating a ripple effect across the wider music ecosystem. We urge government to include music in such schemes at the next opportunity.”
Night Time Industries Association (NTIA) CEO Michael Kill shared his disappointments over the Budget but said the announcements on business rates relief for hospitality, the simplification of Alcohol Duties, and the cut in duty for draught beverages will be “welcomed” in the night time economy.
Kill said, “Of course the improved forecasts for growth announced by the Chancellor today are good news, and the reopening of the night time economy has been a key part of this better-than-expected bounce back. We were disappointed that the Chancellor chose not to extend the 12.5% rate of VAT on hospitality – this is a missed opportunity, and it will prevent those forecasts from improving further still.”
UK Music chief executive Jamie Njoku-Goodwin responded to the Budget by outlining the organisation’s three-point plan, part of its Music Industry Strategic Recovery Plan.