News story

Tax relief to support Britain's world-class orchestras

Orchestra tax relief joins a number of other successful creative sector tax reliefs supporting films, theatre, animation and video games.

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government


The Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rt. Hon. George Osborne MP, today (23 January 2015) announced details on a new tax relief to support Britain’s world-famous orchestras.

The new tax relief, which was announced at Autumn Statement 2014 and is due to come into force in April 2016, is expected to bring real benefits to some of Britain’s more than 175 orchestras and will encourage them to perform across the whole of the UK.

Modelled on the existing theatre tax relief, it will provide a generous corporation tax deduction, or a payable tax credit, on expenditure such as player fees, rehearsal costs and venue hire, including a higher rate for touring productions.

Britain’s orchestras are heard across the country and around the world. In 2012-13 orchestras played to 4.5 million people in the UK in over 3,500 performances and toured in 35 countries. They also played over 10,000 community performances for 600,000 people, half of whom were children or young people.

Although audiences are growing, orchestras’ income from ticket sales and hires fell by 11% in real terms from 2009-10 to 2012-13.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne said:

As part of the government’s long term economic plan, we are backing our creative industries.

The UK is home to world-famous orchestras that make a great cultural contribution across all parts of our country, and are engaged by millions of people.

I want to make sure our great orchestras continue to thrive. Our new tax relief will encourage orchestras to perform across the whole of the UK – helping secure the future of live performances in the UK.

We have successfully introduced tax reliefs to support the creative sectors, such as theatre, film, animation and video games.

This shows how targeted support can make a real difference in promoting British culture and the way the UK is viewed internationally and we are building on this with the new orchestra tax relief.

Mark Pemberton, director of the Association of British Orchestras, said:

The ABO was delighted when the Chancellor announced in the Autumn Statement that creative tax relief would be extended to orchestras from April 2016.

We welcome the launch of the consultation. Tax relief will make a big difference to our members’ resilience in these challenging times, helping them to continue to offer the very best in British music-making to audiences both here in the UK and abroad.

The government’s creative sector tax reliefs have demonstrated that targeted support can make a positive impact, not only in terms of boosting economic activity, but also as a way of promoting British culture and improving the way the UK is viewed around the world.

Orchestra tax relief joins a number of other successful creative sector tax reliefs supporting films, theatre, animation, video games and soon children’s TV.

In 2013 to 2014, the film tax relief provided support to over 320 films being made in the UK.

Published 23 January 2015