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MU Joins Calls for ‘Voice’ to be Eligible Instrument Under Orchestra Tax Relief to Enable Choirs to Benefit

Major music sector organisations, networks and individuals are calling for ‘voice’ to be added to the eligible instruments, so that choirs can claim Orchestra Tax Relief.

Published: 24 April 2024 | 10:00 AM Updated: 24 April 2024 | 10:50 AM
Electric keyboard and microphone in foreground, with small choir group out of focus in the background.
Choirs, whether professional or amateur, are not able to access Orchestra Tax Relief. Image credit: Shutterstock.

Created in 2016, Orchestra Tax Relief has made it possible for many orchestras and other kinds of unamplified music groups to produce more work, engage more professionals and commission new work, enabling more participants and audiences to experience the joy of live music performance. The Government recently recognised the importance of this tax relief and its impact on the music industry by announcing a permanent higher rate of 45%.

The success of Orchestra Tax Relief, however, has highlighted that choirs, whether professional or amateur, are not able to access this support. This is holding back the growth of this sector which makes a significant contribution to music professionals’ portfolio careers, creating work for around 30,000 choir leaders, composers and singers every year, with potential for more.

Choirs have also been found to support participants’ physical and mental well-being, and benefit them socially and educationally, as well as acting as connectors in their communities and raising hundreds of thousands of pounds for charities each year.

Evidence shows that tax relief translates into more ambitious and larger scale programming, more professionals engaged and commissioned, greater community reach, increased venue hires and growth in the night-time economy.

The sector is therefore now calling for Orchestra Tax Relief to be extended to include ‘voice’ as one of the eligible instruments, to enable acoustic vocal ensembles of 12+ to claim for eligible events.

A crucial part of the musical ecosystem

Naomi Pohl, MU General Secretary says:

“The recent threat to the BBC Singers highlighted the precarity of the UK’s choral sector. However, the response from choirs around the country also demonstrated what a rich and diverse community of choral singers we have.

“They are deserving of Treasury support and could do so much more with better resources. There is no question that they deliver for UK people, as well as being a crucial part of the musical ecosystem.”

View the full list of supporters and learn more about the campaign via Making Music.



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