Government confirms VAT cut for UK concerts after coronavirus

It's yet to be confirmed if the cut will apply to festivals too.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak has confirmed that concerts in the UK will benefit from a VAT cut to boost business in the wake of coronavirus.

Yesterday’s mini-budget saw Sunak unveiling a £30 billion plan to kickstart the British economy after the pandemic – including a VAT cut on the hospitality sector.

A reduction from from 20% to 5% will last for six months, and MusicWeek now reports that concerts will now benefit from the VAT cut.

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However, it is currently unclear whether advance ticket sales for gigs beyond the January 12 cut-off for the reduction will still qualify.

It’s also yet to be confirmed whether festivals will qualify for the VAT cut too. 

Reacting to Sunak’s statement before the clarification on concerts, UK Music acting CEO Tom Kiehl said: “The music industry is in crisis and we need VAT exemptions, which would be a lifeline for the thousands who work in the music industry.”
Mark Davyd, CEO of the Music Venue Trust said, “We warmly welcome this sensible intervention into the live music sector which responds directly to the asks we made of the government for the support we need. To unlock the potential value this creates, we urgently need some firm commitments to reopening dates and some guidelines that would allow us to get tickets on sale and benefit from this tax cut.”

The exemption comes days after it was confirmed that the UK government will  fund the UK’s arts, culture and heritage industries with £1.57billion to help them “weather the impact of coronavirus”.

The support package, which was announced last week (July 5), will provide music venues, independent cinemas, museums, galleries, theatres and heritage sites with emergency grants and loans.

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The money marks the biggest one-off investment in UK culture and follows other measures taken to help companies, institutions and organisations survive during the pandemic, including loans, business rate holidays and the coronavirus job retention scheme. According to a press release, as well as helping businesses to survive, it will “help support employment, including freelancers working in these sectors”.

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