Business News Legal Live Business

Parliament cancels ticket touting select committee inquiry ahead of General Election

By | Published on Monday 24 April 2017

Houses Of Parliament

Ongoing inquiries instigated by Parliament’s Culture, Media & Sport Select Committee on ticket touting and the effect of Brexit on the creative industries, tourism and the Digital Single Market have been cancelled, thanks to that whole General Election thing.

Chair of the committee, Damian Collins, said in a statement: “Although we are unable to complete these important inquiries, there is no bar to our successors in the next Parliament taking up the evidence received – which has been published on the committee’s website – and finishing them. Given the importance of all these subjects, we hope that the new committee will do so”.

The select committee’s inquiry into ticket touting had helped to further grow support for better regulation of the secondary ticketing market in political circles. It also pushed for the ‘bots ban’ – making it illegal to use special software to buy up large quantities of tickets off primary sites – to be re-introduced into the Digital Economy Bill.

Amendments made by the House Of Lords to the DEB, including the bots ban, are due to be considered by the Commons on Wednesday this week. It’s not yet clear if the wide-ranging digital bill will get through before Parliament is dissolved for the election.

Either way, anti-touting campaigners are hopeful that recent momentum on this issue around Westminster can be maintained even if the election puts things on hold.

Adam Webb, Campaign Manager of the FanFair Alliance told CMU: “Through its two evidence sessions on ticket abuse, the Culture Media & Sport Committee has helped shed light on what it’s Chair, Damian Collins MP, has described as a ‘national scandal’. Because of the General Election all current inquiries have unfortunately now ended, but we are optimistic that post 8 Jun a new incoming committee will view ticket touting as ‘unfinished business’, and consider picking up the reins. The ongoing concerns about Viagogo, in particular, are still unanswered”.

Webb went on: “Elsewhere the fight goes on – and while one door temporarily closes, others remain open. An enforcement investigation by the Competition & Markets Authority is still ongoing, while this Wednesday the Digital Economy Bill returns to the House Of Commons. This bill includes two important amendments that, if they become law, should make life harder for touts and inject some real transparency into the ticket resale market”.

“Firstly, are the measures to criminalise misuse of software to bulk-buy tickets, that government has already agreed to. And secondly, a tweak to existing consumer legislation that would require secondary sites to list an original booking reference and any conditions of resale whenever a ticket is offered for resale”.

Webb concludes: “At the moment, users of these platforms can never be sure whether a ticket actually exists or whether there are specific terms and conditions around resale, so this kind of information is absolutely vital. If the amendments get through, it would be a real victory for genuine fans”.