Ahead of a general election, SOLT & UK Theatre have outlined their priorities for political parties and how they can support the UK’s world-leading theatre sector.
SOLT and UK Theatre are keen to work with the incoming government to deliver growth, not only in the theatre sector, but in the wider economy. Our recommendations are designed to:
- Stimulate economic growth.
- Boost tax returns.
- Encourage audiences to return to theatres.
- Widen access to theatre across the UK, particularly for children.
- Increase employment.
- Promote a sustainable and energy-efficient theatre economy.
- Increase the potential for inward investment and overseas growth.
We are asking parliamentary candidates and political parties to support and promote our three core objectives for the theatre sector:
Endorse our “Theatre for Every Child” Campaign
- Our Theatre for Every Child campaign asks for a manifesto commitment to pledge that all children have the chance to see a professional production in a theatre before they leave school.
- A visit to the theatre provides cultural enrichment and educational benefits, builds empathy, promotes wellbeing and highlights potential dynamic creative careers in a growing sector.
- SOLT & UK Theatre’s initial policy costing suggests this would cost the government A maximum of £42.33 per child, or a total cost of £34m per year.
Support and enhance our critical cultural infrastructure by increasing capital funding for the theatre estate
Research shows that 86% of theatres said finance was a major barrier to making energy efficiency improvements, with this figure rising to 92% for historic theatres. In order to address this problem we are proposing, in partnership with the Theatres Trust, a Theatre Energy Efficiency Grant Scheme. This initiative would provide theatres with capital to make immediate ‘quick win’ energy efficiency adaptations, such as the installation of LED lighting rigs. The total value, and support hoped for from the government, of the scheme would be £56.7m, and the grants would range from £50,000 to £300,000 depending on the size of the venue. The scheme would support 472 theatres, half of all theatres in England, and would save these venues between £4.3m and £6.2m per annum depending on future energy costs. We estimate that the scheme would provide a 100% return on investment in between 9 to 13 years, depending on energy price variations.
Maintain the higher rate of theatre tax relief in perpetuity
- The higher rate of tax relief, introduced in October 2021, has been pivotal in enabling the development of new theatre productions in the UK.
- Reducing the TTR rate in 2024 and 2025 would reduce the number of home-grown productions and risks stunting the growth of our world-class industry.
- An American Producer and investor based in the U.S. and producer or co-producer of over 60 productions on Broadway has increased investment in the UK by 250% since the introduction of the higher rate of Theatre Tax Relief. This increase in FDI will likely fall if the rate of relief tapers as planned
- Had TTR been at the current higher rate for its lifetime (since 2014), HMT would have still seen a ROI of 63%.
SOLT & UK Theatre stand ready to work with parliamentary candidates and parties to achieve these aims and deliver practical support to facilitate their introduction.