Theatre and Orchestra Tax Relief: letter to UK Government

Culture Secretary calls on UK Government to extend tax relief for the culture sector.

To: Rt Hon. Jeremy Hunt MP Chancellor of the Exchequer

From: Angus Robertson, Cabinet Secretary for Constitution, External Affairs and Culture

I am writing to you regarding the decision of the UK Government to reduce the rate of Theatre and Orchestra Tax Relief from 1 April 2023.

As you will be aware, the culture sector was one of the hardest hit by the pandemic and is still in a state of recovery. The Scottish Government is in regular dialogue with the culture sector, who have been clear that the impact of rising costs are significantly hampering their ability to recover following the Covid-19 pandemic.

I recently convened roundtable discussions with the culture sector in Scotland on 10 November and 1 December, to explore how organisations can best work together to develop shared solutions, and further events are planned early in the New Year.

An issue which has been raised frequently by cultural venues during and outwith these engagements, including by our National Performing Companies, has been the expected decreased in Theatre and Orchestra tax relief from April 2023. Our Scottish cultural stakeholders have told us that the additional tax support has been a lifeline during these difficult times and that decreasing this support at a time when the sector is still facing increased costs is likely to result in severe damage to Scotland’s cultural ecosystem.

I am therefore writing to ask that the UK Government reconsider reducing the rates of Theatre Tax Relief and Orchestra Tax Relief from 1 April 2023. I met with the DCMS Secretary of State Michelle Donelan on 13 December, where I raised this issue directly. She was cognisant of this issue and recommended that I write to you directly to reiterate the importance of extending the increased rate of tax relief at this time.

I am calling for the additional tax support to be extended, due to the ongoing impact of the cost crisis which is hampering the culture sector’s recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic. I believe an extension to at least March 2024, would provide vital support to the UK’s cultural sector during the economic downturn, which the Bank of England has forecast to last for two years.

I do hope that you understand the importance of supporting our vibrant culture sector during this difficult time and put in place an extension to the additional tax relief support.

I am copying this letter to Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Michelle Donelan.

I look forward to hearing from you.

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