Pubs and nightclubs are facing what the British Beer and Pub Association is describing as an “eye-watering” rise in PPL (Phonographic Performance Ltd) fees for playing recorded music.

BBPAA 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.

The BBPA says the increase “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”.

BBPA chief executive, Brigid Simmonds, said: “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 discussions must take place first and any impact considered further before there are proposals for cost increases.

“As PPL note in the consultation document, the SFE [specially featured entertainment] 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.”

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