George Osborne hopes the tax scheme will revive and support regional theatre (Credit: Foreign and Commonwealth Office)
This month the government initiative providing tax relief for theatre comes into effect. Touring productions can apply for 25% relief, and non-touring performance a 20% tax credit.
A tour of Tom Stoppard’s Arcadia will be one of the first productions to benefit from the scheme; the tour, launching in January 2015, is a joint venture between English Touring Theatre and Theatre Royal Brighton Productions.
George Osborne, speaking ahead of the initiative’s launch at Theatre Royal Brighton, said of the tax scheme: ‘Regional productions have sadly been in decline for many years, and that’s come and gone regardless of the Arts Council budget, but I hope this [tax initiative] will revive regional theatre and revive touring productions so that we have the great success of the West End, which has probably never been more successful than it is today, but we also have great successes around the regions.’
George Osborne’s Autumn Statement leaves ACE reeling from further cuts
Arts Council England (ACE) is to receive cuts of £11.6million by 2015, additional to the 30% cut to the organisation’s budget in 2010.
Chancellor George Osborne revealed in his Autumn Statement that cuts of 3% would be made to the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) by 2015. DCMS has passed on the cuts to ACE: 2013/14 will see the council’s budget squeezed by £3.9 million and by £7.7million in 2014/15.
Due to the administrative cuts already faced by ACE, the organisation claims that it cannot downsize its services and team any further, meaning cuts have been passed onto the 696 bodies and National Portfolio funded by ACE.
Arts Council chief executive Alan Davey explained: ‘The government’s intention seems to have been that Whitehall departments absorb any cuts themselves from efficiencies but since the DCMS has already given itself a 50% administration cut – which was also applied to the Arts Council – the department’s latest cuts have been passed straight on to the bodies it funds.
‘We must now look closely at the figures and decide how we will pass these cuts on. Some organisations are also having to deal with local authority cuts and so the situation is extremely challenging.’
The cuts seem to have taken immediate effect, with organisations such as the British Museum, National Gallery and the V&A already having received letters confirming a reduction in their funding from the ACE. Further cuts are being anticipated after George Osborne announced a spending review covering the same spending period and beyond.