The Night Time Industries Association (NTIA) said the fall statement doesn’t go far enough and lacks clarity, as entertainment trade bodies and industry groups react to the Chancellor’s announcement.
Jeremy Hunt delivered his autumn statement to MPs in the House of Commons on Thursday, in which he said he faced tough decisions to ensure a “shallower regression” but the economy was still expected to shrink by 1.4 % in 2023.
Michael Kill, chief executive of the NTIA, a trade body representing UK businesses in the sleepover economy, said: ‘This government is guilty of neglecting thousands of businesses and millions of employees and freelancers across the sleepless economy. , this budget has not gone far enough and still lacks clarity and will no doubt see a huge swath of SMEs and independent businesses disappear in the coming months.
“When companies should prepare for the busiest time of the year, they must now consider their future and will remember the fourth failed attempt to provide a budget to safeguard businesses in the most acute phase of the crisis.
“There is no consideration for the human impact, this will have a devastating effect not only on entrepreneurs but also on the individuals and families who have dedicated their lives and livelihoods to this industry.”
Meanwhile, Greater Manchester’s overnight economic adviser Sacha Lord warned that following the autumn filing entertainment venues could close faster than they have during the pandemic.
He tweeted: “Operators are being squeezed beyond their capacity and I fear we will now see huge staff cuts, reductions in opening hours and venues closing at a faster rate than seen during the pandemic. It is a very sad state of affairs.
“We will now see a decline in consumer spending in the coming weeks and months, at a time when traders need maximum support as they recover from their pandemic-related debt hangover.
“Disposable income underpins the UK economy and I am extremely concerned that the policies outlined today will create a severe contraction in the sector. Spending on luxuries like eating out is naturally the first thing to do in times of cuts.”
Jon Collins, chief executive of Live, said the chancellor’s autumn statement “offered little help” to the live music industry.
The industry group represents the interests of the industry, uniting 14 major live music associations and representing more than 4,000 artists.
Following the announcement, Collins said: “While we welcome the Government’s desire to bring stability to the UK economy, it has today offered little help to secure the future of our £4.5bn industry and 200,000 people it employs.
“Unprecedented operating conditions are pushing our industry to the brink as much-loved venues close their doors, tours are canceled and artists leave the industry.
“The aftermath of the pandemic combined with the rising cost of living has led to 54% of people reporting that they are less willing to attend live entertainment, putting incredible pressure on the live music industry.
“Today we renew our call for the reintroduction of a lower VAT rate on ticket sales to inject money into the bottom line of struggling businesses, bring us in line with many other European countries and secure the future of live music for all.”
In response to the fall statement, Paul Pacifico, chief executive of the Association of Independent Music, called for investment in the next generation of creatives.
He said: “AIM welcomes the government’s proposed tax cut on business rates, but with independent small businesses increasingly squeezed by rising costs, UK music will suffer unless we create more incentives to invest. into the next generation of creative and entrepreneurial talent.
“While we understand the need to cut costs in today’s budget, we call on the government to seriously consider measures to support the future of the sector in the spring statement.
“For example, extending creative industry tax breaks to British music could play a vital role in encouraging investment and maintaining a healthy music ecosystem.”
Philippa Childs, head of creative industries and broadcasting union Bectu, was also critical of the budget, saying: “There is very little in this budget to calm the perfect storm facing the UK’s theater sector. Its workers and businesses have been among the hardest hit by the pandemic and continue to face challenges keeping the public coming back.
“Now they are battling rising operating and living costs with low wages, unpredictable occupancy and reduced audience numbers. This is in addition to ongoing post-Brexit tour restrictions.
“The Chancellor talks about growth and stability, but it would appear that this budget is a missed opportunity to help revive the UK’s creative sector. There is very little in the budget ‘growth’ rhetoric that indicates how the government intends to protect and support our world-leading creative industries, which contribute so much both culturally and economically.”
Ms Childs said the lack of ‘outright support measures for the self-employed’ was ‘incredibly disappointing’ and that, although there are energy support payments for the most vulnerable, there is ‘almost nothing’ in the statement for “a workforce still bearing the scars of the pandemic and continuing to suffer from precarious work”.
The Music Venue Trust has also responded to the statement, asking for a live music fee in the UK.
The charity, which works to protect, secure and improve music venues in the UK, released a statement saying: ‘Music Venue Trust welcomes the government’s announcement that the retail relief , hospitality and leisure on corporate rates, which includes most UK staple music venues, will be extended from 50% to 75% from 1st April 2023.
“However, we have written to the Treasury to ask for clarification of the support offered to venues with values over £110,000 – the autumn statement lacks clarity on what is being proposed for such venues.
“In January 2020, before the pandemic, the government pledged to fully review commercial tariffs on grassroots music venues. We strongly urge the Chancellor and the Prime Minister to take this review forward as soon as possible.
“The UK has the highest level of local taxes on grassroots music venues in Europe. This must change for our live music industry to remain competitive.
“The government has not chosen to respond to calls to reduce the VAT on tickets. The UK continues to have the highest VAT rate in Europe on live music tickets. This has to change in order for the UK to compete.”
He added: “The government says it is committed to stability and growth. Despite his affirmative action to provide some stability around business rates for an additional 12-month period, multiple opportunities to stabilize and grow the live music industry are steadily being missed, budget after budget, statement after statement.
“Our grassroots music venue sector creates 29,000 jobs, delivering over 170,000 performances to more than 20 million people. It is a vital sector with real opportunities to deliver growth, but one that is not being recognized and addressed in this autumn statement.
“Music Venue Trust is calling on the government to set up a live music commission. This body may be mandated to consider significant opportunities to stabilize and grow the live music industry, with the aim of informing future government policy so that these opportunities are not consistently missed.
Hannah Essex, co-CEO of the Society of London Theater and UK Theatre, said: “The financial environment for theaters and producers continues to be challenging. Supply and production costs have risen sharply and our audience’s disposable income is declining in a cost-of-living crisis.
“Under these circumstances, extending this budget and increasing rate concessions for retail, hospitality and leisure will provide a small safety net for some of our locations.
“However, we now urge the government to turn its attention to measures that stimulate economic growth.
“The theater industry stands ready to partner with government to foster growth in our world-leading industry.
“Other welcome measures include increasing spending on education and we hope to highlight the benefits of cultural and creative education with Sir Michael Barber in his new role as adviser to the government’s skills programme.
“And with the Government introducing a new Energy Efficiency Task Force, we look forward to promoting the Theater Green Book as a model for leading industry-wide business practices.”