The UK government has clarified that concerts and festivals will be counted alongside theatre in benefiting from the VAT cut from 20% to 5% for the hospitality industry.
All tickets paid for during the six-month period spanning 15 July to 12 January will be covered by the relief, meaning that it will include advance ticket sales for events beyond that time. Tom Kiehl, director of government relations at UK Music, welcomed the news. “Great to see concerts and shows are included in this announcement,” he tweeted.
The concert and festivals business joins shows, theatres, circuses, fairs, amusement parks, museums, cinemas, zoos and exhibitions in benefiting from the VAT reduction. The food and accommodation sectors will also qualify.
The news follows the announcement that the government will help the arts with a £1.57bn support package, the details of which have not yet been announced. The government claims it is the biggest ever one-off investment in UK culture.
Theatres and music venues in England will be allowed to host physically distanced outdoor performances from 11 July. A number of outdoor concerts have been planned for summer: the UK’s first large-scale socially distanced outdoor concert venue is opening in Newcastle this summer, and major concert promoter Live Nation has planned a series of drive-in concerts across 12 outdoor UK venues, with artists including the Streets, Dizzee Rascal and Kaiser Chiefs.
There is still no news on when indoor music events will be allowed to return. A survey in mid-June by the Music Venue Trust, which represents 819 independent UK venues, found that only 36% of the public felt it would currently be safe to go to a concert.
Kiehl said in a statement: “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.”
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