FDs: Tax system should not support arts

Findings in this week’s Accountancy Age/Reed Personnel Big Question survey have revealed 52% of FDs do not support the use of the tax system to encourage business sponsorship of the arts, with a further 15% of the 440 respondents remaining undecided.

Corporate sponsorship now provides the arts sector with more than half its revenue, as big corporate players look to link their brand with events with the right profile.

Corporate investment in the arts is now valued at £141m a year, up 23% against the previous year – compared to £57.1m at the start of the 90s.

But many of the respondents believed there were far more deserving causes such as the NHS or schools, with the arts generally only used by a minority.

The result follows a Big Question earlier this month which found some six out of ten FDs thought the Millennium Dome should close immediately because of its financial difficulties.

‘They should use the money for helping the elderly and young children. It’s these people who need it. A lot of rich people go to the arts, let them contribute’, said Henry Barbour of The Commonwealth Institute.

Tony Leaver of the Elizabeth Finn Trust, added: ‘The tax system is there to raise government expenditure, arts should be sponsored by volunteers not the taxpayer’.

Some FDs however pointed to the tax relief companies would receive. Ed Budgen of Thornycroft, added: ‘Because so many companies nowadays are IT and dot.coms that the arts are becoming forgotten’.

FDs call for Dome to close

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