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Lyric Hammersmith (Photo credit: David Tett)

Government budget 2021

Kitty Underwood

By Kitty Underwood Published 3 March 2021

Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak presented the Governments budget today, laying out a series of new crucial policies to help individuals and businesses during the Coronavirus pandemic.

Julian Bird, CEO of SOLT and UK Theatre said:

“The 2021 budget contains the extension of many vital support mechanisms that have helped the performing arts industry through the pandemic, and it is wonderful that the Government recognises the value of our world-leading culture sector.  The announcement of a further £300m for the Culture Recovery Fund, coupled with announcements on furlough, self-employed support, business rates and VAT remaining at a lower rate for hospitality and leisure businesses, is all hugely welcome and will help ensure our industry can reopen with additional financial security.

“The extension of the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme to cover new entrants in the 19/20 tax year will help many in our sector, but we urge the Government to continue to look at the plight of other individuals who have fallen through the gaps of furlough and self-employed support.  In order to reopen, theatre and the performing arts continue to need insurance cover, and we call upon the Government to put this in place as for other sectors.”

Continued employment support

The furlough scheme will be extended by 5 months. Due to end at the end of April, it will now run until the end of September. Similar to last summer, employees will still receive 80% of wages, but employer contributions will increase over the summer.

Another SEISS grant will be available from April, and a fifth will be available later in the year, although the 5th grant will be based on a reduction in turnover to determine the rate paid.

The rules have also been changed so that around 600,000 more people who have been unable to claim will be eligible for support. Previously, people who became self-employed in 2019-20 tax year weren’t able to receive the grants.

The government will introduce a £7 million fund from July 2021 to help employers in England set up and expand portable apprenticeships. This will allow apprentices to work across multiple projects with different employers – giving apprentices high quality and long-term training and allowing employers access to a more diverse range of apprentices. Creative Industries Council in particular will be asked to bring forward proposals for this new scheme in recognition of the benefits of this new approach for the creative sector.

Increased funding for the cultural sector

The arts sector will receive a new package of funding for recovery. This will include around £300m for the £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund and £90m earmarked for the national museums.

The Production Restart scheme for Film and Television has been extended until December 2021, but disappointingly there is no equivalent scheme for Theatre productions.

The Help To Grow Scheme will offer management programmes to upskill 30,000 SMEs over the next year, boosting growth in smaller businesses. This comes alongside a new digital programme, providing vouchers to help smaller businesses invest in the software needed to grow.

Boosts to local culture

Also announced was a £150 million Community Ownership Fund, that will allow communities across the UK to invest to protect the assets that matter most to them such as pubs, theatres, shops, or local sports clubs.

There have been a number of new policies aimed at supporting people and places directly around the UK, including a £4.8 billion Levelling Up Fund, which will invest in local infrastructure such as town centres, transport and local culture and heritage.

Specifically mentioned was £18.8 million earmarked for local cultural infrastructure projects in Carlisle, Hartlepool, Wakefield and Yeovil to boost the vibrant cultural life of these towns and cities.

£10 million has also been put towards the renovation and expansion of the Octagon Theatre in Yeovil, Somerset.

The government also announced plans to celebrate the United Kingdom’s culture as a whole, putting aside £28 million to support the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee in 2022, creating a major celebration event for the whole of the UK.

Changes to taxes and rates

The Chancellor also announced an extension to business rate reliefs and a continued VAT cut for the UK’s tourism and hospitality sectors, aiding recovery and growth in sectors hardest hit by the pandemic.

Alongside this, planned alcohol duty rises have been scrapped and alcohol duty has been frozen for a second year running to support the hospitality sector.

An increase in corporation tax has been announced for 2023, allowing the economy to recover from the pandemic before increasing corporation tax on the largest and most profitable businesses in the UK. This hopes to raise even more money for the government, helping to balance the money provided in vital support over the pandemic.


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Due to the current pandemic various venues and productions are making announcements for their individual shows. Please bear with us as we try to keep this page as up to date as possible. If you find a mistake, please let us know by emailing enquiries@soltukt.co.uk. If you click through to seat selection (where you'll see either best available or a seating plan), you will be seeing the most up-to-date prices. If this differs from what we've written on the calendar, please bear with us, as those prices will update soon.

We now sell our famous TKTS Booth discounts online here at Official London Theatre.

We are now cancelling all performances up until and including 31 May 2020 to help us process existing bookings whilst we wait for further clarity from the government in terms of when we will be able to reopen.

We are so sorry that in these testing and difficult times you are not able to enjoy the show you have booked for and hope the following helps clarify next steps in respect of your tickets .

There is nothing that you need to do if your performance has been cancelled, but we do ask for your patience.

If you have booked directly with the theatre or show website for an affected performance, please be assured that they will contact you directly to arrange an exchange for a later date, a credit note/voucher or a refund. If you have booked via a ticket agent they will also be in contact with you directly.

We are processing in strict date order of performance, so you are likely to be contacted after the date you were due to go to the theatre. However, we want to reassure you that you will be contacted, and your order will be processed, but please do bear with us.

We’d like to thank everyone who has been patient and kind in dealing with their ticket providers so far and we are sorry that we cannot process your order as quickly as we would like.

Please do not contact your credit card company as that will slow the process down and put an additional burden on our box office and ticket agent teams.

In order for us to serve our audiences the best we can, please do not get in touch with your point of sale if you have booked for performances after 31 May. Please be reassured that if we have to cancel future performances you will be directly contacted by your theatre or ticket provider. Our producers continue to plan for all eventualities dependent on the individual needs of their shows and we will provide further updates on specific shows as and when they become available.

We look forward to welcoming you back into our theatres as soon as we are allowed to resume performances. In the meantime stay safe and healthy.

For more than 40 years, TKTS was our on-the-day theatre ticket box office in Leicester Square. Currently closed due to the current situation, we are now selling our great last minute seats and prices online. Click here to learn more.

While theatres are currently closed, various venues and productions are making announcements for their individual shows, including cancellations and rescheduled performances. Please check with the individual shows for details.