Big tax breaks for stage productions applauded

Regional theatres have received a major boost with new tax breaks similar to those enjoyed by the film industry.

Plays, musicals, operas, ballets and dance productions which tour the country will receive a tax credit worth 25 per cent of their costs under measures announced by George Osborne.

All new non-touring shows will be entitled to a 20 per cent credit.

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“This is potentially transformational for theatre, particularly for the regions and for touring,” said Julian Bird, chief executive of the UK Theatre Association.

“It’s a massive vote of confidence from the Government for one of our major industries, and puts theatre on a par in tax terms with the film industry.”

The measure was first floated in the Autumn Statement last December, but required approval from the European Union under rules for state aid.

Mr Osborne said he was determined the Government should support creative industries.

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“The European Commission has today approved the extension of our film tax credit – and I will apply the same successful approach to theatre, especially regional theatre,” he said.

“From this September there will be a 20 per cent tax relief for qualifying productions, and 25 per cent for regional touring.”