Classical musicians call for UK tax breaks

Classical musicians who visit Britain say they should receive tax breaks similar to those offered to foreign sport stars.

Orchestra leaders says talented musicians are subject to an ‘aggressive’ tax regime in an ‘intensely bureaucratic’ system.

Chancellor George Osborne has confirmed athletes participating in this summer’s London Grand Prix will not face punitive taxes on their earnings.

In the letter to today’s The Daily Telegraph, the orchestras say: “Our major cultural events and festivals are no less relevant to major sporting events.

The letter is signed by 35 groups including Michael Eakin, chief executive of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic and chairman of the Association of British Orchestras; John Gilhooly, director of the Wigmore Hall and chairman of the Royal Philharmonic Society; and Andrew Jowett, chief executive of the Birmingham Symphony Hall and chairman of the British Association of Concert Halls.

They say that that the “discriminatory and intensely bureaucratic” tax regime was at odds with last week’s call from Culture secretary Maria Miller for artistic groups to increase their “economic impact in return for public investment”.

They add: “In many cases Britain’s cultural organisations are forced to undertake arduous and time-consuming paperwork only to demonstrate that no tax is due at all.

“We would support any move that enabled British orchestras and concert halls to continue to attract the world’s finest musicians and to compete in the global marketplace, to enable them to survive during these difficult times.”
A HM Treasury spokesman said: “The Government’s policy is to grant tax exemptions in exceptional circumstances. Generally, these will only be considered where tax exemptions are a prerequisite of a successful bid to secure an event.”

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