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UK Music sets out priorities for government support ahead of next week’s budget statement

By | Published on Thursday 9 March 2023

UK Music

Cross-sector trade group UK Music has written an open letter to the country’s Chancellor Of The Exchequer – that’s your good mate Jeremy Hunt – urging him to use next week’s budget statement to announce measures that will boost jobs and growth in the British music business.

The letter, from UK Music boss Jamie Njoku-Goodwin, is something of a greatest hits in terms of the music community’s requests from government, summarising eight key asks from the sector.

More government support is required, Njoku-Goodwin argues, to help the UK music industry deal with surging energy costs, the hangover of COVID and challenges created by Brexit, and to continue to punch above its weight globally in an increasingly competitive market place.

Although the letter itself goes into a little more detail, UK Music summarised those eight key asks this morning as follows…

Energy Bills: Give more support to venues, studios and music spaces hit by soaring energy bills.

Business Rates: Ease the tax burden on music businesses by reducing business rates on live music venues and studios.

VAT: Cut VAT on live events, such as music and theatre events, to 5% to bring UK more in line with EU nations and help stimulate live music.

Fiscal Incentive: Create a new tax relief for the music industry like those enjoyed by film and TV to boost music production.

Export Office: Set up a new music export office to drive British music exports and help future talent grow their international audiences.

Orchestral Tax Relief: Extend the 50% uplifted orchestra tax relief rate and boost the sector by ditching plans to cut the rate to 25% by 2024.

Arts Pupil Premium: Deliver on the manifesto pledge to introduce this extra support to help all students access music education.

Transitional Support Package: The government should set up a fund to help the music industry deal with the extra costs of leaving the EU and the impact of Brexit on touring UK musicians and crew.

Commenting on all that, Njoku-Goodwin says: “Our music industry is one of the jewels in the crown of British business. The fantastic work of international stadium-fillers like Harry Styles, Adele and Ed Sheeran, along with brilliant new talents like Wet Leg and Sam Ryder, is heard in every corner of the world”.

“The global music market is ferociously competitive, and our sector needs support from government if we are to remain world leaders and ensure our contribution to the UK economy reaches a new high in the years ahead”, he adds. “Without the right support, there will be a real threat to the talent pipeline, which the music industry relies on for the next generation of future stars”.

“The eight-point plan that UK Music and our members have drawn up spells out the huge opportunity the Chancellor has to help us drive jobs and growth and continue the success story of UK music”, he concludes.

Hunt’s budget statement will be delivered on 15 Mar, by the way. So that’s the day where you might want to schedule a little time in to be disappointed.