SOLT & UK Theatre: theatre sector respond to announcement in Spring Budget of new permanent rates of Theatre Tax Relief  

Today, during his Spring Budget, the Chancellor announced a new permanent rate for Theatre Tax Relief of 40% and 45% for productions that tour, instead of the planned taper from April 2025 (to 35% and 30% respectively) and a return to the pre-pandemic rate (25%/20%) in 2026. This new permanent rate will unlock more and bigger productions, creating more jobs in our world-class theatre sector.  

Warmly welcoming the Chancellor’s transformative announcement of new permanent rates of Theatre Tax Relief,   

Eleanor Lloyd, President of Society of London Theatre, said:  

‘Our members have the ambition and creativity to maintain and grow our dynamic, world-leading sector. We can only do this with the right policy and fiscal environment that will enable us to unlock wider potential. Today’s announcement will enable us to unlock further private investment, and result in more and bigger productions. This bolder programming will in turn create more jobs and reach more audiences. Making the relief permanent prevents the cliff-edge of the TTR taper, which our members predict would have shrunk the theatre sector by almost a third. TTR is an investment in our world-class theatre sector, which is integral to the UK’s place on the global stage.’  

Stephanie Sirr, Joint President of UK Theatre, said:  

‘This new permanent rate of Theatre Tax Relief will be transformative for regional producing theatres. It provides the financial stability we desperately need in the context of squeezed public investment and rising costs. It will also keep touring theatre on the road, meaning communities across the country have access to world-class productions. This results in investment in local communities up and down the country, as for every £1 spent on a theatre ticket, we know that £1.40 is spent in local economies, generating local employment and economic growth.’  

Andrew Lloyd Webber, composer and theatre producer, said: 

‘This is a once in a generation transformational change that will ensure Britain remains the global capital of creativity.’ 

Sir Cameron Mackintosh, producer and West End theatre owner, said:  

‘The new permanent rate of TTR is a tremendous endorsement of the vital contribution that the theatre makes to the British economy as well as the huge arts industry in this country. The current vibrancy of the West End proves this is money well spent and now theatre producers can confidently risk producing exciting new work and hopefully find the next global hits that make British Theatre the envy of the world.’ 

Eleanor Lang, Executive Director, Stratford East, said: 

‘This new permanent rate of TTR will enable Strafford East to continue producing bold and innovative productions, such as The Big Life, which would not have been possible without it. We estimate that the production will bring about 20,000 people to Stratford, spending time and money in our local community. This transformative commitment will support communities up and down the country by unlocking more and bigger productions and creating more jobs in our world-class theatre sector.’ 

Henny Finch, Executive Director, Donmar Warehouse, said:  

‘The news that Theatre Tax Relief at 40% will continue in perpetuity is a lifeline for us. It directly supports us to make bigger and bolder work for our audiences at the Donmar, in the West End and beyond, including employing hundreds of artists each year. We are very grateful to the Government for their investment in our world-class sector.’ 

Kate Varah, Executive Director of the National Theatre, said:

‘We are thrilled that the Government has committed to a new permanent higher rate of Theatre Tax Relief. All in the sector have united to work hard to highlight the transformative benefits this will bring to subsidised, independent, and commercial theatres. This is extremely welcome news which will reinforce the UK as a global cultural leader, support jobs and growth, and delight and inspire millions of people every year.’ 

Michael Harrison, theatre producer, said:  

‘Despite the many and varied financial challenges the government currently faces, it’s heartening they’ve not only listened to our industry but also responded with a firm commitment that will have a direct impact on jobs and growth in our sector. 

Nica Burns OBE, Chief Executive, Nimax Theatres Limited, said:  

‘Theatre tax relief has made the most significant contribution to the success of the UK theatre sector since the formation of the arts Council in 1946. It enables private investment into the theatre sector which not only creates outstanding productions and additional jobs but also repays money back into the Treasury.’ 

Dame Rosemary Squire, Joint CEO, Trafalgar Entertainment, said:

‘We welcome today’s Spring Budget announcement by Chancellor of the Exchequer Jeremy Hunt MP to maintain a higher rate of Theatre Tax Relief for the creative industries. The higher TTR rate was a crucial lifeline following the pandemic and kept the theatre industry afloat during turbulent times. As we now experience a current economic downturn, the extension of TTR will hopefully provide additional support and reassurance for theatre owners, producers, and creatives, and will help to stabilise the industry, stimulate growth, protect jobs, and drive future investment.’

Sir Sam Mendes, Caro Newling O.B.E, Co-Founders, Neal Street Productions, said: 

‘The higher rate of theatre tax relief is fundamental to our ability to make productions. It has enabled us to commission new work, often partnering with producing houses and colleagues in the commercial sector. They are all productions of scale.  The Hills of California, The Motive and the Cue and The Lehman Trilogy, Hamnet and a nationwide, eighteen-month, tour of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Most have enjoyed seasons in both not-for-profit and commercial sectors, with Broadway and international tours thereafter. TTR is the singular factor in promoting both the confidence to be properly innovative and investors to join in the endeavour. We welcome the Government’s plans to make the higher rate permanent, as it will bolster the industry’s ability to thrive.’

Sonia Friedman, theatre producer, said: 

‘SFP is delighted that the government has recognised the seismic importance of fixing Theatre Tax Relief at a higher level than planned. This provides a vital and game-changing contribution to the financing and production of UK theatre, encouraging investment in this world-class industry with all the benefits to the wider economy of increased hospitality and tourism as well as the myriad of benefits to society in general.  Without this, it is no exaggeration to say that our whole industry would be under threat.  With it, we can continue to grow and improve on our contribution to the arts, society and to the economy.’ 

Tamara Harvey and Daniel Evans, Royal Shakespeare Company, Co-Artistic Directors, said: 

‘The important news of a new permanent rate of Theatre Tax Relief is a critical lifeline for the UK’s theatre industry. It shows that our government recognises all that theatre delivers for communities nationally and for the UK economy and will provide stability at a time of rising costs alongside a challenging funding landscape. 

 ‘With this support we can create the most exciting theatre for our audiences, incentivising private investment, and increasing the UK’s global attractiveness for foreign investment. In turn this creates highly skilled jobs and generates wider economic benefits. 

‘So much of the RSC’s work is made possible by the higher rate of Theatre Tax Relief including our multi-award winning My Neighbour Totoro. This production attracted significant international investment and employed high numbers of freelancers, theatre staff and other industry organisations. Over 286,000 tickets have been sold so far, a quarter coming from international sales, with the box office income alone generating a substantial amount of VAT for the Treasury. We thank the Government for investing in our world-leading sector’.   

Ted Stimpson, Group Chief Executive Officer of Ambassador Theatre Group, said: 

‘Today’s announcement demonstrates the UK Government’s leadership in acknowledging the immense economic, social, and cultural significance of theatre to communities nationwide. The new permanent rate of Theatre Tax Relief will serve as a catalyst for innovation, creativity, and the continued growth of our world-leading theatre sector. This investment will preserve our cultural heritage and foster an environment where the arts can thrive, creating thousands of highly-skilled jobs and ensuring that audiences across the nation continue to enjoy compelling theatre.’   

Tom de Keyser, Executive Director, ROYO, said: 

‘This commitment by the Chancellor, Treasury and DCMS will directly cause a huge increase in our output over the coming years. We will produce more productions than initially planned, be able to procure more investment from outside the UK, and will mean we can present productions for longer engagements, reaching many more parts of the country. The impact of touring stretches beyond just the theatres visited, but directly grows regional nightlife economies and drives the variety and diversity of local culture.’ 

Laura Stevenson, Executive Director of The Old Vic, said: “We are delighted that the Government has made a commitment to maintaining Theatre Tax Relief. As The Old Vic, and our colleagues across the sector, continue to navigate a challenging economic landscape, it is vital financial support like this that enables us to keep producing our award-winning work both on and off stage.”

Alex Beard, Chief Executive of the Royal Opera House, said: “The Chancellor’s announcement today is a great moment for arts and culture in Britain. I am delighted that Government recognises the economic and social contribution of our sector and is taking positive steps to ensure the UK is the best place in the world to produce and perform classical music, dance, and theatre in all its forms.”