PPL has begun formally consulting on a revised Specially Featured Entertainment (SFE) tariff, which would apply to pubs and bars.
UKHospitality was warned that any increases to PPL’s SFE tariff will place considerable burdens on venues and limit their ability to offer recorded music.
“We see no reason why there should be a need to fundamentally change the SFE tariff and increase costs for businesses already struggling against a swathe of taxes,” comments UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls.
“It is clear that if PPL’s current thinking were to be implemented it would result in massive increases in licence fees, inevitably leading to higher prices for customers and significantly reducing the ability of establishments across the UK to play recorded music, when mixed by DJs or for dancing.
“UKHospitality will be liaising with our members and other stakeholders to robustly respond to these proposals, to avoid additional costs that would drive music out of venues and ultimately close some hospitality businesses.”
The British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA) has also released a statement in reaction to the news.
“We are extremely disappointed that PPL are proposing such eye-watering increases to their SFE tariff which covers pubs, clubs and other venues that put on discos and DJ events for customers,” comments BBPA chief executive Brigid Simmonds.
“The consultation proposes a possible 480% increase – from 3.8p per person per hour to 22p per person per hour.
“This would be on top of proposed structural changes that could more than double this figure, will simply not be viable for many licensees at a time when pubs are already facing major cost pressures in terms of increasing taxes and other regulatory costs.
“Whilst we welcome discussions on ensuring fairness and clarity in how the tariff is calculated and if improvements can be made to deliver this, we believe that these discussions must take place first and any impact considered further before there are proposals for cost increases.
“As PPL notes in the consultation document, the SFE tariff is already increased annually by the Retail Price Index (RPI).
“Of course, RPI itself is now a discredited measure of inflation, but the use of this measure will have seen the SFE tariff increase by over 50% since 2003.
“This is compared to a 38% increase in the Consumer Price Index, the official measure of inflation, during this period. We are grateful for the dialogue and engagement we have had with PPL on this issue over the last year, but see no justification for further increases in the tariff at this time and we will be responding accordingly.”