SOLT & UK Theatre Statement Following Government’s Business Energy Bills Decision Postponement

Following yesterday’s announcement that the government’s decision on energy bill support for businesses has been postponed, here is a statement from SOLT and UK Theatre’s co-CEO Hannah Essex:

‘SOLT & UK Theatre are disappointed that the government will not announce their plans for further support for businesses under the Energy Bill Relief Scheme before the end of this year as promised.

Theatres and theatre producers are working hard to deliver growth in the economy in increasingly challenging circumstances, as they navigate the rising cost of energy and raw materials, significant skills shortages and the impact of the rising cost-of-living on audience demand.

Like businesses across the economy, the theatre sector depends on this announcement to forecast its energy costs into the next financial year. With the theatre sector being particularly vulnerable to energy price hikes, venues and producers will likely be making tough decisions on how to respond to the expected increase, in some cases running at 175% even with the current support in place.

In particular, those companies which have obligations to present business plans to Arts Council England by 20 January as part of their NPO agreements will not be able to accurately assess the impact of energy costs on their planning until it is potentially too late to be considered as part of their portfolio offer.

SOLT and UK Theatre will be pushing hard with ministers and officials in HMT Treasury, BEIS and DCMS to ensure this announcement is made as early in the New Year as possible. We will also be continuing discussions on how to deliver growth in the sector with colleagues in government, including our proposals for an investment fund to support sustainability improvements in theatre buildings and maintaining the higher rate of Theatre Tax Relief.’