Osborne’s boost for touring

Museums and galleries are to get extra tax relief for touring.

Chancellor George Osborne announced the new reliefs in his latest Budget.

And eligibility scheme for VAT refunds will also be extended to any museum or gallery offering free entry. The refund scheme has previously only been available to national and university museums and galleries.

The Chancellor has also pledged extra cash for a number of cultural projects, including a £13m package to help support Hull's City of Culture  and £5m towards Shakespeare North, a new £19m theatre in Knowsley, Merseyside.  He also confirmed an earlier £20m pledge to hold a "Great Exhibition of the North" and invited cities and towns in the North of England to bid to host the event.

Extra cash will also be found for the British Library's proposals to develop land to the north of its St Pancras site in London, an expansion of the Royal College of Art and £5m to the Dundee V&A museum's fundraising campaign, £2 million to refurbish the Hall for Cornwall in Truro, and £14 million for the STEAMhouse in Digbeth, Birmingham, bringing together arts and STEM to drive innovation.

Culture organisations welcomed the proposals but added that they were concerned about the impact of further cuts to local government funding on the arts.

The Museum Association's Alistair Brown said he was "delighted" with the plan However, he added, “there is nothing in this budget that changes the fundamental problem of diminishing local authority funding for museums.”

John Kampfner, of the Creative Industries Federation, said, “We are extremely concerned that local authorities will be hit by another major cut to their budgets when local arts provision is already under pressure.”

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