Classical musicians want tax breaks from "aggressive regime"

7 May 2013, 10:46

An open letter from classical musicians and music organisations has hit out at the "aggressive" tax regime in place for artists visiting from abroad.

Orchestral musicians from a variety of ensembles and groups have signed an open letter to The Telegraph newspaper calling for tax breaks for visiting musicians and artists. In the letter, they describe the current tax conventions as "discriminatory and intensely bureaucratic".

Drawing a comparison with visiting sports stars and athletes who are exempt from withholding tax, the letter takes issue with the "aggress tax regime for visiting musicians and artists."

The comments in the letter have been sparked by Chancellor George Osborne's announcement that athletes competing at the London Athletics Grand Prix would not face any punitive taxes on earnings they make in the UK.

Signed by directors and executives including Michael Eakin from the RLPO, John Gilhooly from Wigmore Hall and Leslie East from the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music, the letter also states that major concerts and festivals are no different in cultural importance to the Champions League Final or the London Athletics Grand Prix.

It continues: "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, so enabling them to survive during these difficult times."

You can read the full letter here.