Ticket touts are ‘classic entrepreneurs’ who should be allowed to operate without interference, says new Culture Secretary Sajid Javid

Sporting and arts groups angered by minister’s defence of ticket resellers

deputy political editor

The new Culture Secretary has angered arts groups, sports fans and MPs after it emerged that he had lavished praise on ticket touts as “classic entrepreneurs” who should be allowed to operate without interference.

Sajid Javid, who replaced Maria Miller after she resigned from the Cabinet this week, argued that touts were simply filling a gap in the market by supplying tickets to fans who wanted to attend the most popular sporting and arts events.

Mr Javid takes over the Culture brief as frustration builds about the rapid growth of the “secondary ticketing” market, which has seen online touts buy large numbers of tickets and resell them, sometimes at  a huge profit.

Internet touts are advertising pairs of tickets for Sunday’s sold-out Premier League clash between Manchester City and Liverpool at close to £5,000, while tickets for Kate Bush’s comeback concerts are on sale for up to £2,500 each.

MPs of all parties are preparing to launch a Commons bid to tighten up the rules on secondary ticketing, a business which is now believed to be worth more than £1bn a year in Britain.

However, three years ago, while still a backbench MP, Mr Javid argued strongly against any intervention to restrict the trade.

“Ticket resellers act like classic entrepreneurs, because they fill a gap in the market that they have identified. They provide a service that can help people who did not obtain a supply of tickets in the original sale to purchase them for sporting and cultural events,” he told the Commons. “As long as those tickets have been acquired genuinely and lawfully, it is an honest transaction, and there should be no government restriction on someone’s ability to sell them.”

He accused people trying to limit the trade of being  “chattering middle classes and champagne socialists, who have no interest in helping the common working man earn a decent living by acting as a middleman in the sale of a proper service”.

Malcolm Clarke, the chairman of the Football Supporters Association, told The Independent: “We would be very uncomfortable with the Secretary of State’s view. We don’t think any tickets should be sold above face value.”

Stuart Littlewood, the chairman of the Concert Promoters’ Association, described Mr Javid’s comments as “naïve”.

A spokesman for the Royal Opera House said the organisation wanted to discuss the issue with the new minister. He pointed out that many of its ticket prices were underwritten by the taxpayer.

“When touts purchase these cheap seats and resell them at a vastly inflated price … it is public money that subsidises them,” he said.

Alan Davey, the chief executive of Arts Council England, said its priority was to support a thriving arts and culture sector which was accessible to the widest audience.

“The issue of tickets being re-sold is one that the industry takes very seriously, and the organisations we fund put preventative measures in place to deter these sales,” he added.

The Conservative MP Mike Weatherley, the co-chairman of the all-party parliamentary group on ticket abuse, said: “I think he is wrong on this and it is my job to re-educate him. If money is going to people who are speculators it is not in the best interests of the music industry.”

The group will attempt to table amendments to the Consumer Bill currently going through Parliament to force online touts to provide more information about their tickets and compensation arrangements if an event is cancelled.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
2015 General Election
May2015

Poll of Polls

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Tradewind Recruitment: English Teacher

Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: My client is an excellent, large partially ...

Tradewind Recruitment: Science Teacher

£90 - £140 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: I am currently working in partnersh...

Tradewind Recruitment: Year 3 Primary Teacher

£100 - £150 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: Year 3 Teacher Birmingham Jan 2015...

Ashdown Group: Lead Web Developer (ASP.NET, C#) - City of London

£45000 - £50000 per annum + Excellent benefits: Ashdown Group: Lead Web Develo...

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee