UK Chancellor announces tax breaks for productions

Yesterday’s UK budget announcement provided some positive news for British arts organisations, as Chancellor George Osborne (pictured) confirmed tax breaks of at least 20 per cent for commercial productions and regional touring companies.

The change will benefit opera and dance organisations, as well as plays and musicals.

While the news was welcomed by many, the country’s arts industry is still tackling the effects of huge cuts in state funding actioned by the current government. Arts Council England’s budget was slashed by 30 per cent in 2010, with the government aiming to reduce culture spending by GBP11.6m (€13.9m) by 2015.

Read: Royal Opera House on UK arts cuts 

Michael Nabarro, managing director of ticketing organisation Spektrix, said companies still needed to move away from reliance on state support, and target ‘high-net-worth individuals’ instead.

‘Arts organisations may lack the skill sets to identify wealthy supporters,’ he said. ‘Too many are also struggling to articulate a compelling case for philanthropic support. Getting both those elements right is crucial.’

Read: How to approach sponsors with pride, not cap in hand

Nabarro continued: ‘A 2012 survey by Arts Quarter found that 3.4 per cent of the individuals in arts organisation databases had personal wealth of more than GBP1m, not including the value of their homes. To give that some shape, if your database has 150,000 people in it, if just 1 per cent of the 3.4 per cent were to donate GBP5,000, a total of GBP250,000 would be raised.

‘Arts organisations should also stop seeing low-level benefit-based membership schemes as ‘fundraising’. Examining those members closely and seeing whether there is potential to move some of them into being major donors should be the next step.’