In yesterday's autumn statement, the chancellor, George Osborne, announced (among other things) that orchestras in the UK may get tax breaks. A system was brought in for theatre and dance productions back in the summer and the idea is to extend this to their colleagues on the concert platform. This would mean 20 per cent tax relief on home performances and 25 per cent on touring.
But while the principle of it is being welcomed, what nobody seems absolutely sure of is how it is going to work; Classical Music Magazine points out that it is a nod, but not a promise; and also, nobody seems quite certain whether it will make any difference to the fortunes of these organisations once the next round of ACE funding cuts is meted upon them. Here is the ISM response ("the fine detail is still to be worked up").
We suspect that this may be a case of the chancellor giving with one hand and taking away with the other and cynics will suggest that such a pledge could therefore turn out, in the broad scheme of things, not to be worth the paper it's written on. Personally I can't help wondering if it would not be simpler for all concerned just to fund the arts properly in the first place... But let's be grateful for small mercies, no?
Here is the ACE document explaining theatre tax relief.