Absolutely. I agree—it is a drain on the Exchequer. Of course, some secondary ticketing organisations pay tax, but there is an amount of VAT and so on that is not necessarily reclaimed.
The issue is recognised by some of the music and sports industries’ leading names. The list of those who joined me to meet with the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport last year reads like a “Who’s Who”: Melvin Benn, Festival Republic, who runs the Glastonbury and Reading festivals and is chairman of Wembley stadium; Harvey Goldsmith, legendary promoter of live events; Rod Smallwood, Phantom Music, manager of Iron Maiden; Ian McAndrew, Wildlife Entertainment, manager of the Arctic Monkeys;
Anthony Addis, Brontone Management, manager of Muse and the Pogues; Emma Banks, Creative Artists Agency; John Jackson, K2 Agency and Sonisphere festival; Simon Davies, the Teenage Cancer Trust charity; James MacDougall, Sport and Recreation Alliance; Dan Fahey, Virtual Festivals; Neil Warnock and Geoff Meall, the Agency Group; Jeff Craft, X-ray Touring; Brian Message, ATC/Courtyard Management and Music Managers Forum; and Danny Newby, Big Green Coach. Those industry leaders have been joined by many others in recent months, including DJ Rob da Bank; Phil McIntyre, Phil McIntyre Entertainments; James Sandom of Supervision Management, who look after the Kaiser Chiefs; and Steve Parker of Live UK. That group cannot be called an isolated few—the industry is very concerned.