UK music fans urged to buy live gig tickets before midnight ahead of VAT increase

"If you buy by midnight tonight, more of your money goes to artists, venues, crews, promoters"

Music fans are being urged to buy gig tickets before midnight to avoid the VAT tax hike on concert and live event ticket prices.

The 7.5 per cent increase, which is set to kick in tomorrow (April 1), was revealed earlier this month ahead of the Chancellor’s Spring Statement on March 23.

VAT is currently charged at 12.5 per cent on tickets for live events but Rishi Sunak is restoring the tax return to its pre-pandemic level of 20 per cent.

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Music Venue Trust boss Mark Davyd wrote on Twitter: “Super soar-away non-sale sale final closing day! Tomorrow the U.K. Government will return to taxing live music gigs with one of the highest rates of VAT on tickets in the world. If you buy by midnight tonight, more of your money goes to artists, venues, crews, promoters.

“So if you’re a fan of live music, please visit your local venue’s website today, check out all the upcoming shows and buy what you can, in advance. today. AT the moment, it’s the best deal possible for everyone involved in putting that show on.”

The tax hike has been widely criticised across the industry for being detrimental to the sector’s recovery post-pandemic. UK Music chief Jamie Njoku-Goodwin wrote to the Chancellor ahead of the mini-Budget in a bid to get the tax hike scrapped.

“Pushing up VAT to 20 per cent would be hugely damaging for the music industry and leave music fans facing a cost of gigging crisis,” he said. “The rise would come at a time when we are rebuilding post-COVID-19, with hundreds of concerts planned over the next few months.”

UK Music also called for a six-point plan including extending the current 50 per cent discount on business rates on music venues, and more funding to help British performers touring the EU to navigate extra costs and post-Brexit red tape.

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Sunak has previously been criticised for his handling of the Brexit touring fiasco – as well as potential future provisions for nightclubs and music venues.

Elsewhere, live music industry leaders and insiders criticised the “clueless” UK government and opened up about the problems that remain for artists and crew wishing to tour in Europe, one year on from the feeling that the sector has been dealt a “No Deal Brexit”.

Raising the issue in the House Of Commons, Labour MP and DCMS Select Committee Member Kevin Brennan put it to Jacob Rees-Mogg, the Conservative Leader of the House of Commons, that the government had not been active and engaged enough in helping overcome the remaining obstacles for live music on the continent and referred to our recent article about the ongoing frustration surrounding post-Brexit touring.

Rees-Mogg defended the government’s current stance and approach for artists wishing to tour the EU after Brexit and said that he had “not read the New Musical Express this morning, or indeed on any morning that I can ever recall.”

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