Nick Smith MP Labour MP for Blaenau Gwent
Nick Smith MP has welcomed the Government’s admission that more needs to be done to tackle ticket touts pushing ordinary fans out of big events.
The Blaenau Gwent MP has been campaigning for a clampdown on internet spivs who mass buy thousands of tickets just to sell on at a massive profit.
Mr Smith has been fighting as part of the cross-party group trying to amend the Consumer Rights Bill so sellers on secondary ticket sites have to provide much-needed information for buyers.
While the Government have attempted to scrap the amendment on several occasions, they admitted that bulk sellers are a problem as they launched an independent review into the law.
Speaking after the debate in Parliament, Mr Smith said fans had been ripped off for far too long and the Government had buried their heads in the sand in response.
“While they are finally recognising these rip-off merchants are a poison in the industry, the Minister for Culture, Media and Sport was only a few years ago hailing these touts as noble entrepreneurs”, he said.
“I want the Government to start taking this problem seriously because it is a problem. When events sell out in seconds and seconds later can be bought for astronomical mark ups, there is clearly something broken in the system.”
Mr Smith’s campaigning has centred around the Rugby World cup, where the organisers’ appeals to protect the event from touts were ignored by Government.
The cheapest tickets for Wales v England as of January 12 on secondary ticket site Viagogo stood at £442 (£75 face value) with top tier tickets going for £1,500.
It isn’t just the big ticket games that are the problem either with tickets for USA v Japan, a low-ranked pool game, are going for more than £300 online -; five times the face value.
“Despite the welcome news, I am still concerned that the Government will not do enough to tackle ticket touting”, he said.
“A quick scan of the message boards or a conversation with real fans in the club house or terraces shows the reality of the issue.
“Until touts are stopped from buying up tickets in bulk, fans are going to face a stark choice; fans will either have to pay through the nose or accept they will always be sidelined from their passion.”