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Theatre receives £77m in tax relief during 2017/18, official figures show

London's West End. Photo: Alex Brenner London's West End. Photo: Alex Brenner
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Theatre benefitted from £77 million of tax relief in 2017//18, up from £44 million the year before – a 75% increase.

Official statistics released by the government show that there were 910 claims made in 2017/18, representing 2,980 productions. Of this, 1,140 were touring and 1,840 were non-touring shows.

Since 2014, when tax relief for the sector was introduced, a total of £137 million has been paid out in relief, covering 1,670 claims and 4,680 productions.

The tax policy was introduced in September 2014 and follows similar schemes for other media such as film, television and video games. Touring shows can claim back 25% relief on eligible costs and other productions can claim 20%.

The first year of the scheme saw £15 million paid out, with £46 million in the second and £77 million in the most recent financial year.

In 2017/18, 36% of all claims were for £10,000 or less, representing 2% of the total paid out.

Claims of more than £250,000 represented 8% of the claims, but were equivalent to 64% of the total paid out.

The statistics have been published by HM Revenue and Customs.

Mel Stride, financial secretary to the Treasury and paymaster general, said: “The UK’s world-class creative industries – from films to video games to orchestras – are championing culture and innovation both at home and abroad.

“We supported these vital businesses with a record £850 million of tax relief last year, helping to boost growth across the country and contribute to the UK’s rich cultural fabric.”

Society of London Theatre chief executive Julian Bird said the tax relief had “allowed producers to become more adventurous, and compensated for reductions in funding from other sources”.

“At a time when public funding is so under pressure, we must be clear that the theatre tax relief has allowed us to maintain a resilient and thriving theatre and performing arts sector,” he added.

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