UK Music boss calls on Government to slash VAT for music industry

The Government must extend its VAT cut to the music industry to ensure it is not left behind, the acting chief executive of UK Music has said.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak is slashing VAT on food, accommodation and attractions from 20% to 5% until January as part of his summer statement.

The emergency package of support aims to help keep people in work as the coronavirus economic crisis hits.

Chief executive Tom Kiehl called for the measure to be extended, warning that the furlough scheme would “start tapering” to an end within days.

In a statement, he 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.

“We will continue to push the Chancellor and the Government to extend the support for the self-employed. There is still no clear timeline for when live music can reopen, yet the furlough scheme will start tapering to an end within days.

“While other sectors are gradually reopening, large parts of the music industry are forced to remain closed.

“We need a continued package of employment support and help to ensure businesses have easier access to loans and other forms of finance.”

Coronavirus – Wed Jul 8, 2020
Chancellor Rishi Sunak delivers his summer economic update (House of Commons/PA)

UK Music represents the commercial interests of the music industry.

Earlier this month, artists, venues, festivals and production companies used the hashtag #LetTheMusicPlay to call for Government support for the live music sector.

Soon after, the Government announced a £1.57 billion support package for the arts, with theatres, museums, galleries, music venues, independent cinemas and heritage sites eligible for emergency grants and loans.

Mr Kiehl said: “As the #LetTheMusicPlay campaign has shown, there is massive support for our world-leading music industry, which sustains 190,000 jobs and contributes £5.2 billion to the UK economy.

“But we urgently need more Government support until the music business can get back fully on its feet.

“The Government’s £1.57 billion support package that was announced on Sunday is welcome.

“However, we need to see the details of how that funding will be divided to ensure no part of the industry is left behind.”