Sage Gateshead gives evidence to influential Parliamentary committee calling for modernisation of the tax rules for the cultural industries and support for freelance workers

age Gateshead has called for a review of the tax rules for arts organisations to help them to contribute to the recovery of communities post-Covid.

Answering a call for evidence from the influential House of Commons Treasury Committee which is holding an inquiry into tax after coronavirus, Sage Gateshead has recommended that the tax rules for orchestras be updated to recognise that lots of performances can only happen online, without an audience present, which the current Orchestra Tax Relief rules do not cover.

Sage Gateshead called for the creation of a tax relief similar to Orchestra Tax Relief and Theatre Tax Relief for other performance genres, designed to promote innovation and develop new talent in the creative industries which pre-pandemic contributed almost £112 billion annually to the UK economy (\)

Sage Gateshead also raised the plight of freelancers across the creative sectors, many of whom have been shut out of government support schemes because of complex rules around personal taxation or because they are not deemed to have been in the profession long enough to qualify for help.

Abigail Pogson, Managing Director of Sage Gateshead, said:

“Arts and culture have a vital role to play in helping our country and our communities recover from the Covid pandemic and organisations like Sage Gateshead have a responsibility to do everything we can to make that happen. We believe that government can and should amend the tax rules to reflect the new reality, maximizing the benefit of the performing arts across the UK. Our proposals are modest and workable and we very much hope that the Treasury Committee will back our call and that it will be accepted by the Government.

“It is also right for us to speak up for freelance workers across the arts, whether they be musicians, technicians, educators, PRs or others: without them there would be no arts sector and currently too many are falling through the gaps in the support available. This is unfair to highly trained and committed professionals in the sector now and can only be a huge disincentive to the next generation of arts workers. Without a change in support for freelancers, we could face a serious diminution in the quality and range of arts and culture in the UK, an outcome that is in no one’s interest.”