Tax relief for theatres has been doubled until 2023 in the government’s autumn Budget 2021.
Chancellor of the exchequer Rishi Sunak made the announcement today (October 27) as part of the government’s autumn Budget 2021.
Sunak announced that to “support theatres, orchestras, museums and galleries to recover from Covid” the tax relief for all those sectors will be doubled from today until April 2023, and will not return to normal until 2024.
The chancellor claims the total tax relief for culture will be worth almost £250 million.
Theatre Tax Relief, which was introduced in September 2014, currently allows touring productions to claim back 25% of eligible costs and other shows can be reimbursed for 20%. From October 27, the rates of relief for theatre will temporarily increase from from 25% to 50% for touring productions, and from 20% to 45% for non-touring productions.
Figures published in August revealed that £74 million in Theatre Tax Relief was paid out to 3,660 productions in 2020-2021.
The Society of London Theatre and UK Theatre previously urged the government to increase the rate of relief to 50% of qualifying expenditure, arguing that it would help mitigate Covid losses and offer confidence in new productions.
The organisation has welcomed the government’s announcement, tweeting: “Rishi Sunak announces that Theatre Tax Relief to be doubled for two years. This initiative will support producers to keep costs down, secure greater investment and develop bold new content to drive the recovery of the UK’s world-leading theatre sector.”
SOLT chief executive Julian Bird described it as an “incredibly welcome boost for UK theatre sector” and added: “This support will give producers and theatres the confidence to continue our world leading work in the years ahead.”
Producer Patrick Gracey also welcomed the news. He said: “Theatre Tax Relief drives economic activity and job creation in the theatre sector nationwide by incentivising private investment, amplifying the value of existing support mechanisms directed towards the not-for-profit sector, and guaranteeing that the UK remains globally competitive in a challenging economic climate.”
He added: “The Theatre Tax Relief scheme has been transformative and today’s announcement will successfully ensure that more productions are developed and presented in the UK than would otherwise be the case, and attract foreign direct investment and talent from all over the world.”
In his budget, Sunak said he wanted “to help those businesses hardest hit by the pandemic”.
Theatres will be included in the retail, hospitality and leisure businesses that will see a 50% discount on business rates, up to a maximum of £110,000, for one year.
Sunak estimated the move to be worth £1.7 billion, and said that when combined with small business rates relief, more than 90% of all businesses in the retail, leisure and hospitality sectors can claim a discount of at least 50%.