UK Budget “overlooks thousands of independent night time economy businesses”

today15/03/2023 9

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The new UK Budget “overlooks thousands of independent night time economy businesses” according to Michael Kill, the CEO of the Night Time Industries Association (NTIA).

Unveiled today (March 15) by Chancellor of the Exchequer Jeremy Hunt [pictured], the plans see a freeze in fuel duty and draft beer duty, as well as an extension of the government’s Energy Relief Scheme until the end of June.

However, customers will be paying more for other drinks from August, as alcohol duty rates are set to rise in line with inflation, which stands at 10.1%.

Read this next: How the cost of living crisis is impacting nightclubs and promoters

A number of nightlife and music industry representatives had been calling for a cut to VAT for cultural events and products in the face of the cost of living crisis, which seen a number of sectors of the nightlife industry under threat of closure.

But for Kill, the plans do not nearly go far enough. He said: “While we welcome the news on draught beer and fuel duty, this Government continues to overlook thousands of independent businesses, including nightclubs, venues, festivals, events, theatres, casinos, suppliers, and millions of employees and freelancers across the Night Time Economy.

“This budget has not gone far enough and will, without doubt, see a huge swathe of SMEs [small and medium-sized enterprises] and independent businesses continue to struggle financially or disappear in the coming months,” he continued.

Read this next: One in three UK nightclubs are predicted to close by the end of the year

“They are continually having to firefight crisis after crisis, from onerous operating costs to rail strikes, supply chain issues and workforce shortages, and no meaningful support to stem the immediate situation.

“The lack of clarity on corporation tax thresholds and the extension of the Energy Relief Scheme will be subject to further details being announced by the Government.

“This follows the letter to the Government yesterday from the energy regulator OFGEM, highlighting the flaws in the scheme and how it impacts businesses, as energy companies profiteer from the most vulnerable sectors, with inflated security deposits, energy rates and uncapped service charges.

“Without the reduction in VAT, many of these businesses will have to consider their future, which will have a devastating impact on local communities, families and individuals who have committed their lives and livelihoods to this sector.”

Isaac Muk is Mixmag’s Digital Intern, follow him on Twitter

Written by: Tim Hopkins

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