Sharon Hodgson MP

Sharon Hodgson - Labour Member of Parliament for the Washington and Sunderland West Constituency
and Shadow Women and Equalities Minister

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   Ticket Touting Private Members' Bill

Latest re ticket touts bill in Parliament

10.05.2013

Sharon talk's in the Queen's Speech debate in Parliament >>
www.sharonhodgson.org/queens-speech-debate-100513

Read Sharon's Speech in Hansard >>

www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201314/cmhansrd/cm130510/debtext/130510-0002.htm#130510-0002.htm_spnew28

What you can do

E-mail your MP about ticket touts here >>

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13.02.2013

Sharon Hodgson welcomes the publication of the Metropolitan Police's "Operation Podium" Report.

http://www.sharonhodgson.org/ticket-touts---a-development-190213

What you can do to help

1. Email your MP - MPs often don't know about issues that concern their constituents unless you tell them!

Let your MP know that you support this Bill and any steps toward creating a fairer secondary market for ordinary fans, either in your own words or by using the draft letter below. emailyourmp

2. Tell your friends - help build support for the campaign by letting your friends know about the Bill and debate through email, Twitter, Facebook or an old-fashioned chat, and asking them to email their MP too. The more people speak out, the louder our collective voice and the more chance of the Government hearing us. For Tweeters, the hashtag is #tickettoutsbill and a link to this page is: http://j.mp/Fans1st

Watch Channel 4 Dispatches Programme The Great Ticket Scandal

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22.03.2012

Sharon Hodgson responds to viagogo's letter.

Following the letter received from viagogo last week regarding Channel 4’s Dispatches: The Great Ticket Scandal documentary, Sharon has replied.

In her response, Sharon welcomes pledges that viagogo made to be more honest about the nature of their website, but presses them to go further in becoming more transparent about who is selling the ticket, and challenges them to justify the business practices highlighted in the Dispatches investigation.  Click on the following link to read Sharon's response.

Link to full published page detailing Sharon's response here >

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22.03.2012

Sharon raises Ticket Scandal in Parliament

Sharon Hodgson offfers Culture Sectretary Jeremy Hunt a DVD of the Channel 4 Dispathes "The Great Ticket Scandal" in the Parliamentary Chamber, just in case he hadn't seen it.

Sharon Hodgson MP offers Culture Secretary a DVD copy of the Dispatches programme The Great Ticket Scandal >

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09.03.2012

The Great Ticket Scandal – viagogo responds to Sharon Hodgson MP

Sharon has today received a letter from secondary ticketing website viagogo, who were heavily featured in the Channel 4 Dispatches: The Great Ticket Scandal.

In the interests of fairness, the full letter has been reproduced below from a scan of the letter (any discrepancies are due to software faults and will be happily rectified).

Sharon will post her response after the weekend.

Thank you.

Full posted website page viagogo responds to Sharon Hodgson >

Scanned letter from viagogo here > viagogo letter to Sharon Hodgson pdf

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Sharon Hodgson brought the Sale of Tickets (Sporting and Cultural Events) Bill before Parliament for its Second Reading on Friday 21st January 2011.

You can read her speech here.

Unfortunately the debate was filibustered (talked out) by some of Cameron's Conservative MPs, meaning that a vote on the Bill could not be held.  Hopefully, a further opportunity to debate the Bill will be presented later in the year.

The Bill aims to tackle the problem of ticket touting for popular live entertainment events, such as gigs and sports games, by allowing event organisers to prevent their tickets being resold by unauthorised retailers for a price greater than 10% above the ticket's face value.

It will also require the Government to work with the entertainment and ticketing industries to try to establish a fairer system which would put fans looking for tickets in touch with other fans who just want their money back for tickets they can no longer use.

Ticket touting generates millions of pounds a year in the UK - all of which comes out of the pockets of fans, none of which goes to supporting grassroots sport or the creative industries, and little of which will be taxed like normal income or business profits. In some cases, touts can earn more than the artists!

It has also been claimed that many of the organised touts use legally dubious methods to buy large amounts of tickets, such as utilising networks of virus-infected computers known as botnets to squeeze out genuine fans trying to buy tickets when they go on sale from the original source. Touting has also been linked to funding or laundering money for other crimes, such as drug dealing and trafficking.

The fact of the matter is that a few people are making large amounts of money by exploiting the hard work of people involved in the live entertainment industry and the passion of fans, whilst contributing nothing to either. This Bill seeks to address this problem, but to do it needs support - both inside and outside Parliament.

What you can do to help

1. Email your MP - MPs often don't know about issues that concern their constituents unless you tell them!

Let your MP know that you support this Bill and any steps toward creating a fairer secondary market for ordinary fans, either in your own words or by using the draft letter below. emailyourmp

2. Tell your friends - help build support for the campaign by letting your friends know about the Bill and debate through email, Twitter, Facebook or an old-fashioned chat, and asking them to email their MP too. The more people speak out, the louder our collective voice and the more chance of the Government hearing us. For Tweeters, the hashtag is #tickettoutsbill and a link to this page is: http://j.mp/Fans1st 

Update:

as at 24.02.2012

DISPATCHES TICKET SCANDAL: MP CALLS FOR LAW TO ‘PUT FANS FIRST’

Following the explosive revelations in Dispatches: The Great Ticket Scandal, Labour MP Sharon Hodgson has renewed her calls for a law to protect fans from being exploited by ticket touts.

Viewers of the Channel 4 documentary saw under-cover reporters expose underhand dealings at Viagogo and Seatwave, two of the biggest secondary ticket websites in the UK.

The documentary revealed that:

The majority of tickets offered for sale through viagogo are from large-scale professional touts, or are given to viagogo by promoters without ever being available at face value;

viagogo staff buy tickets for in demand events as soon as they go on sale, using multiple credit cards.

viagogo offers special services to encourage large-scale professional touts - known as "power sellers", or "brokers".

Ticket touting is now common-place in live entertainment, even extending to art exhibitions like the Da Vinci exhibition at the National Gallery.

The documentary was shown despite a last-ditch bid by viagogo to block its broadcast in the High Court. The judge threw out the attempted injunction on Wednesday (22nd) and a subsequent appeal on Thursday afternoon (23rd).

The MP now intends to write to the Secretary of State for Culture Media and Sport, as well as the Office of Fair Trading, to seek an urgent review of the secondary ticketing market.

Mrs Hodgson said: “The fact that viagogo tried to stop the public from seeing what goes on behind closed doors just goes to show that they know they are behaving badly.

“We are told time and again that these sites are nothing more than a passive channel, through which ordinary fans can offload their unwanted tickets to other fans and make a bit of profit every now and again.

“It was always obvious that this wasn’t the whole story, and thanks to Dispatches we now know that they are actively exploiting the support that bands, artists and sports work so hard and invest so heavily in creating, and encouraging others to do the same.

“The government needs to put fans first and take action to tackle ticket touting. They have refused to take the initiative during the 18 months I have been trying to bring in my Bill, but I hope that this exposé will spur them into action.”

Mrs Hodgson’s Private Members’ Bill, which sought to establish a legal scheme to allow anyone putting on shows to protect their tickets from being resold at a profit greater than 10%, was talked out by Conservative backbenchers in January 2011, but she has pledged to continue the fight, and has the support of heavyweight organisations within the live entertainment industry, including the Sport and Recreation Alliance, Teenage Cancer Trust, and the Music Managers Forum, as well as prominent figures including promoter Harvey Goldsmith, Reading and Leeds Festival organiser Melvin Benn, and Iron Maiden manager Rod Smallwood.

ENDS

Please contact Mike Forster on 020 7219 0266 or mike.forster@parliament.uk for interview bids.

Notes

Dispatches: The Great Ticket Scandal aired on British TV on 23rd February, 9pm, Channel 4. Further details on the dedicated programme page: http://www.channel4.com/programmes/dispatches/episode-guide/series-108/episode-1

Sharon Hodgson is the Labour Member of Parliament for Washington and Sunderland West.

Mrs Hodgson tabled the Sale of Tickets (Sporting and Cultural Events) Bill in June 2010, and it had its second reading in January 2011. Further details on her website: http://j.mp/Fans1st

Dispatches producers were taken to the High Court by Viagogo in an attempt to prevent the parts of the programme relating to their business from being broadcast; Dispatches won. Channel 4 press release: http://www.channel4.com/info/press/news/channel-4-dispatches-defeats-injunction-attempt-by-viagogo

A full list of supporters of Mrs Hodgson’s campaign is available on request at the contact details above.

End

23.02.2012

Channel 4’s Dispatches series will be screening a documentary on the practices of some of the biggest names in secondary ticketing tonight.

‘The Great Ticket Scandal’ will be screened at 9pm tonight.

Viagogo, one of the companies investigated (and one of the most vocal critics of Sharon’s Bill), attempted to get a High Court injunction to stop the programme being aired. Thankfully they were not successful – more details on the C4 website.

Sharon was interviewed for the film, and will be writing to the Office of Fair Trading and the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport to alert them to the findings.

09.02.2012

Sharon Hodgson MP asks for assurances from culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt on safeguards for genuine fans against ticket touts during Olympic and Diamond Jubilee year celebrations, 2012.

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20.01.2012

ANTI-TOUTS BILL FALLS, BUT FIGHT GOES ON

Washington and Sunderland West MP Sharon Hodgson has expressed her disappointment at the demise of her proposed law to tackle ticket touts, but has vowed to continue working with the live entertainment sector to force the Government to put fans first.

The Sale of Tickets (Sporting and Cultural Events) Bill sought to tackle the growing problem of profiteers pricing ordinary fans out of gigs and shows by enabling those putting on events to protect their tickets from being resold at a profit if they wanted to do so.

The Bill had its Second Reading debate in January 2011, when Cameron's Conservative backbenchers deployed filibustering tactics to ensure that it was not voted on. Now, following the end of the last Friday on which the Bill could be debated before the next Queen’s Speech, it has effectively been scrapped, along with dozens of other Bills tabled by individual MPs.

The Bill attracted support from heavyweight organisations within the live entertainment industry, including the Sport and Recreation Alliance, Teenage Cancer Trust, and the Music Managers Forum, as well as prominent figures including promoter Harvey Goldsmith, Reading and Leeds Festival organiser Melvin Benn, and Iron Maiden manager Rod Smallwood.

Mrs Hodgson said: “All the way through this process I have been struck by the amount of support that has flooded in, whether from major players in the sport and music sector or from the ordinary fans who are getting fleeced by this unfair practice.

“So while I am very disappointed that the Government hasn’t seen fit to take action on ticket touts and adopt my Bill, thanks to that support I am determined to carry on campaigning for a fair deal for fans, both within Parliament and outside. 

“The Bill has been written now, so Ministers can easily pick it up, dust it off and make it into a law. That’s what I’ll be pushing for, and I know that I have the public behind me on this.”

The latest furore over the reselling of tickets has surrounded the Leonardo Da Vinci exhibition at the National Gallery in London, for which £16.50 tickets have been trading hands for up to £250 on online auction sites and ticket exchanges, despite clear instructions on the tickets that they were not to be resold.

On the da Vinci case, Mrs Hodgson said: “This is a once in a lifetime exhibition, so naturally demand for tickets is high. Where there’s high demand, touts see profit, so they buy as many tickets as possible. Scores of people are deprived of the chance to pay face value so that a few can make vast profits.

“What makes this case even worse is that the touts are exploiting the public subsidy that the National Gallery gets to ensure that their ticket prices don’t prevent ordinary culture fans from getting to see great art.”

ENDS

 

Write to/e-mail your MP

DRAFT E-MAIL TO YOUR MP - let us know what they say to you.

Please remember to personalise the highlighted areas. You can of course use your own words for the whole letter if you prefer. If you are not sure how to contact your MP (or even who they are!), follow this link and enter your postcode. www.writetothem.com

Dear [enter your MP's name]

Sale of Tickets (Sporting and Cultural Events) Bill

I am writing to ask you to support Sharon Hodgson's Private Members Bill on the secondary ticket market.

The Bill aims to remove the financial incentive for professional ticket touts to buy large numbers of tickets - often using legally dubious methods - to popular entertainment events with the sole intention of selling them on at a large mark-up. None of that extra money goes to supporting grassroots sport or the creative industries, and is rarely subject to tax in the same way as other sources of income.

Currently, the system of self-regulation in the secondary ticket market is failing - it allows this practice to continue and proliferate, and deprives genuine fans (in particular those with less disposable income) of the opportunity to purchase tickets to see their favourite teams or bands at the price intended by those whose talent, hard work and investment created the demand in the first place. Instead, touts manipulate the supply of tickets to exploit that demand - more often than not giving their customers no legal protection in the process.

The recent episode of Dispatches - The Great Ticket Scandal - proved that this is the case. That documentary revealed that:

- The majority of tickets offered for sale through viagogo are from large-scale professional touts, or are given to viagogo by promoters without ever being available at face value;

- viagogo staff buy tickets for in demand events as soon as they go on sale, using multiple credit cards. 

- viagogo offers special services to encourage large-scale professional touts - known as "power sellers", or "brokers".

- Ticket touting is now common-place in live entertainment, even extending to art exhibitions like the Da Vinci exhibition at the National Gallery.


[Enter personal experience of being unable to purchase tickets at face value/having to pay extortionate amounts from a tout, or delete]

Tickets for the Olympic Games are already protected from being resold by unauthorised persons and through unauthorised channels by the London Olympic Games and Paralympic Games Act 2006. On 16th March 2011 Jeremy Hunt tabled a Bill to amend the Olympics Act to increase the maximum fine for anyone caught touting tickets from £5,000 to £20,000, after the Government acknowledged that touts both detract from the experience of fans and are often part of wider criminal networks.

In the Home Office press release to announce this change, Assistant Commissioner Chris Allison, national Olympic security coordinator, said: 'We do not want our Games blighted by touts...Touts are part of organised criminal networks, often involved in other crimes, and we are committed to dismantling them layer by layer."

As a fan of [e.g. live music or sport], I do not want my experiences blighted by touts, as they often are now. I welcome the commitment to protect a major one-off event like the Olympics from touting, but feel it should be equally important to tackle the touting that goes on day in, day out for gigs, games and other events up and down the country. The Government clearly recognises that touting is a problem, and I believe it is their responsibility to do something about it.

The Sale of Tickets (Sporting and Cultural Events) Bill will provide for a scheme whereby event organisers and venues can protect their tickets from being sold by unauthorised retailers at a price greater than 10% above face value, thereby tackling unscrupulous and unaccountable operators whilst allowing the legitimate secondary market to come to arrangements with sports and other entertainment sectors which will see a greater share of the additional revenue going back to those whose work generated the demand.

The Bill will also place a duty on the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport to work with the entertainment and ticketing industries to establish a firm code of practice, and explore the possibility of creating official ticketing exchanges where genuine fans can buy from other fans who can no longer use their tickets.

I believe that this Bill would be very welcome to many of your constituents who enjoy live entertainment events, and as such I would be grateful if you could tell me whether or not you are able to commit to supporting the Bill if it comes back to the floor of the House.

As your constituent, I would also be grateful if you could sign EDM 492 in support of the Bill, and I ask you as my elected representative, to write to the Secretary of State Jeremy Hunt MP to ask that he supports the Bill, or brings forward his own proposals to ensure that genuine fans, and the live entertainment industry, get a fair deal.

Many thanks for your help in this matter.

Yours sincerely,

[enter your full name and full postal address]

For more information on the Bill, please contact Mike Forster at mike.forster@parliament.uk or 0207 219 0266.

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Sharon Hodgson

www.sharonhodgson.org

Sharon Hodgson MP
House of Commons,
London SW1A 0AA

E-mail: hodgsons@parliament.uk

Westminster Office Tel. 020 7219 5160

Constituency Office Te. 0191 417 2000

Sharon Hodgson's website is not funded through House of Commons expenses.


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