Budget gives theatre and arts a little relief


Budget illustration

In a move to “support theatres, orchestras, museums and galleries to recover from Covid”, Chancellor Rishi Sunak has doubled theatre tax relief until 2023 in his Budget statement.

The relief, introduced seven years ago, allowed touring productions to claim back a quarter of certain costs. This is now raised to 50 per cent for the next 18 months, before falling back to 35 per cent in April 2023 and returning to 25 per cent a year later.

Non-touring shows, previously eligible to reclaim 20 per cent of certain costs, have seen the proportion rise to 45 per cent, before similarly falling to 30 per cent in 2023 and returning to 20 per cent in 2024.

The new rates will apply only to shows in preparation after Budget day, so shows underway already, even if they haven’t yet been covered by year-end claims, are not eligible for the new higher rates. Even so, the arts in general can expect to retain around £250 million more than they otherwise would.

The extra relief will also be a driver in the move to get touring up and running again over the next year and a half.

Theatres are also included in a new 50 per cent discount on business rates (to a maximum £110,000) for the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors for the next financial year.