UK Music

UK Music responds to budget by urging Government to back three-point plan to boost music industry

Industry body tells Rishi Sunak to “strike the right note” by helping drive jobs and growth in the UK’s world-leading music industry. 

London, 27th October 2021 UK Music Chief Executive Jamie Njoku-Goodwin has urged Chancellor Rishi Sunak and the Government to “strike the right note” by helping drive jobs and growth in the UK’s world-leading music industry.

In response to the Chancellor’s Budget and Spending Review, UK Music’s Chief Executive Jamie Njoku-Goodwin welcomed measures to maintain business rate relief for hospitality and leisure businesses, and enhance the orchestra tax relief.

However, he called on the Government to back three key measures outlined in UK Music’s Music Industry Strategic Recovery Plan to help the sector continue rebuilding after the pandemic.

The three key measures in UK Music’s plan that need urgent Government action are:

  1. Securing the talent pipeline by providing funds to enable freelancers to recover, creating opportunities through music education and enabling investment in the next generation of British music success stories.
  2. Supporting and incentivising infrastructure by protecting live events from further pandemic disruptions, extending the Culture Recovery Fund while the sector recovers, permanently reducing VAT on hospitality services and ensuring a boost for touring through fostering investment from within the industry.
  3. Encouraging exports abroad and fostering investment by boosting successful exports schemes including the BPI-administered Music Export Growth Scheme and PRS Foundation’s International Showcase Fund, alongside introducing a package of fiscal incentives to supercharge the industry’s export potential, a Transitional Support Package and establishing a music export office.

The measures were drawn up by UK Music, the collective voice of the music industry, and its members. (See under notes to editors for full details of the Music Industry Strategic Recovery Plan.)

UK Music Chief Executive Jamie Njoku-Goodwin said:

“The Chancellor has taken some welcome steps in his Budget, yet further action is needed to support the music sector’s post-pandemic recovery.

“These next few months are an absolutely critical time for the UK music industry. Following the easing of restrictions, businesses are getting back on their feet and fans are able to enjoy live music again.

“We must not allow that recovery to be derailed as we rebuild our sector post-Covid. It is crucial that we get Government support to help us continue to rebuilding and hiring people who went so long without work due to the pandemic.

“Covid halved music’s economic contribution to the UK economy from almost £6 billion a year to £3.1 billion in 2020. If the Government strikes the right note by delivering the support we need, our music industry will come back stronger and bigger than ever.

“We are pleased to see the extension of the orchestras tax relief yet the Government has missed an opportunity to not take forward further music tax incentives to help boost jobs and economic growth. Similarly, business rate relief for venues is very welcome yet we remain concerned about next April’s VAT hike for live events.

“Ministers must put turbo-chargers under the efforts to clear away the barriers that are still making it so hard and expensive for musicians and crew to tour easily in the EU.

“As the domestic music market recovers, the Government should also build on recent trade deals by giving more funding and support for music exports.

“As well as music’s huge economic and cultural importance, we also need to see the Government fully recognise its huge value to our wellbeing by properly funding music education to help nurture our talent pipeline and provide the stars of the future.”

The Music Industry Strategic Recovery Plan comes after UK Music published earlier this month its report – This Is Music 2021 – which revealed the devastating impact of the Covid pandemic on the sector.

They key findings showed that:

  • Employment plunged by 35% from 197,000 in 2019 to 128,000 in 2020
  • The music industry’s economic contribution fell 46% from £5.8 billion to £3.1 billion in 2020
  • Music exports dropped 23% from £2.9 billion in 2019 to £2.3 billion in 2020

The impact of Covid-19 was felt right across the industry in a sector where three-quarters are self-employed or freelance and were not covered by Government financial support schemes.


Notes to editors:


You can read more about our Music Industry Strategic Recovery Plan here:


  • Tax incentives for the music industry to stimulate growth and jobs: Unlike many other creative sectors in the UK, the music industry does not currently benefit from a fiscal incentive scheme. The creation of a tax relief (similar to the UK’s Film Tax Relief) would stimulate UK music creation, increase jobs and attract inward investment.
  • Urgent action to remove the barriers to touring the EU: While the Government must look to negotiate new bilateral and multilateral agreements with the EU and member states, they must also urgently deliver a Transitional Support Package to cover new and additional costs for touring artists, musicians, crews and businesses.
  • A permanent reduction in VAT rate on hospitality: Since July 2020 VAT on hospitality has been temporarily reduced. Currently at 12.5% on certain supplies, including music tickets, VAT on hospitality and tourism is set to rise back to the old rate of 20% next year. UK Music believes VAT should be kept at a permanently reduced rate to incentivise recovery in the live music sector.
  • More funding and support for music exports: Funding for existing export programmes, such as the BPI-administered Music Export Growth Scheme and PRS Foundation’s International Showcase Fund should be doubled. A music export office should also be set up by Government to provide long term, strategic support for music exports, supporting commercial and economic returns as well as cultural goals.
  • Boosting funding for music education and for the self-employed to help secure the talent pipeline: To secure our future talent pipeline, a recovery fund for creative industry freelance workers is essential and will support those at risk of leaving the industry. Music education funding should also be boosted at both primary level and higher education level to save divisions in music education worsening.
UK Music

UK Music is an industry-funded body, established in October 2008, to represent the collective interests of the recorded, published and live arms of the British music industry.