Covid-19 restrictions finally end but live music calls on Government to continue support21.02.2022.
Today’s announcement by the Prime Minister that all legal Covid-19 restrictions will end is welcomed by the live music industry. The pandemic devastated our world-famous live music scene, which was one of the first sectors to close in March, over 18 months of total closure and was one of the last to reopen. Income fell off a cliff as over 80% of revenue disappeared overnight and the freelancers and artists that power this industry fell through the cracks of government support.
Whilst this is a significant moment for the live music industry the pandemic has undoubtedly left its mark on this industry. Such a prolonged closure decimated income and, as a result, we saw an overall reduction of 85% in revenue between 2020-2022. Economic modelling demonstrates that the financial impact will be felt across the industry for at least the next three to five years while spiralling costs – some as high as 40% – are being seen nationwide.
Greg Parmley, CEO, LIVE said:
“The end of COVID-19 restrictions represents a huge, welcome relief to the live music sector, which lost billions in revenue throughout the pandemic. But with spiralling costs and thousands of companies struggling with pandemic debt, it’s crucial that Government does not abandon and set the sector adrift, just as it starts to tread water again. “We are calling for a reverse to the planned hike in VAT rates and the imminent end to business rates relief in order to avoid further business closures and job losses within our sector.”
LIVE asks to add recovery:
- Defer increase of VAT rate on ticket sales due to take place in March 2022.
- LIVE is calling for the Government to maintain the current 12.5% VAT rate of ticket sales and work with the industry to consider a cultural VAT rate of 5% on ticket sales.
- Business rates relief
- LIVE is calling for a further extension of the current business rates relief scheme until the end of the 2024-5 tax year.
Paul Reed, CEO, Association of Independent Festivals (AIF) said: “While we welcome legal restrictions around Covid-19 coming to an end and the prospect of a full capacity festival season, the effects of the pandemic are still being felt by the independent festival sector and the need for Government action remains. With festival organisers facing crippling cost increases of up to 30% across operations and infrastructure, this is not back to business as usual for festivals, and it is not a case of ‘job done for Ministers.
“AIF reiterates its call for ongoing support from Government in the form of continued VAT relief on festival tickets to maintain the current reduced 12.5% rate on tickets beyond the end of March, and to also explore some form of Government-backed loan scheme for suppliers to alleviate some of these pressures and encourage investment in the festival supply chain.”
Greg Marshall, General Manager, AFEM said: “AFEM welcomes the end of all legal Covid-19 regulations and the move to guidance announced in the UK today. However, the fragility of the chain of businesses and individuals which make up the electronic music club and events ecosystem needs to be recognised. Ongoing support measures will be required to ensure the recovery of this sector, in parallel with industry action to build consumer confidence and ensure a return of audience numbers to all event types in the long term”