Museums welcome vital extension to Exhibition Tax Relief 6 Mar 2024

The UK’s museums have welcomed Chancellor Jeremy Hunt’s announcement in the Spring Budget Statement that the Museums and Galleries Exhibition Tax Relief (MGETR) is to be made permanent.

Since its inception in 2017, MGETR has supported hundreds of museums and galleries across the UK with £59 million invested, a lifeline for museums and the visual arts. The tax relief has supported 6,430 exhibitions of all sizes – from blockbuster exhibitions that draw huge national and international audiences, to the creation of more ambitious new displays at smaller museums that engage local communities around the country – encouraging innovation, creating jobs, and enabling national and international touring. The relief was previously due to expire in April 2026.

Maria Balshaw, Chair of the National Museum Directors’ Council and Director of Tate said: “I want to thank the Chancellor, Jeremy Hunt and Culture Secretary, Lucy Frazer for responding to the concerns of museums and the visual arts sector by extending this vital tax relief. It supports the making of exhibitions that directly benefit the public across the whole of the UK. At Tate it helps us create exhibitions that serve our local communities as well as attract visitors from all over the world. It underpins the economic and social benefit museums and galleries make to the UK economy and helps protect our world-leading creative sector.” 

Andrew Lovett, Chair of the Association of Independent Museums and Chief Executive, Black Country Living Museum, said: "I'd like to thank the Chancellor, the Culture Secretary and their teams for removing the sunset clause on this crucial tax relief. Not only is this a positive and relevant response to concerted advocacy by the sector, the certainty a permanent relief provides makes it more accessible to independent museums, guaranteeing a long-term return on the resource investment required to claim it. Our visitors and communities will ultimately benefit from this astute investment in a sector which makes significant contributions to the UK's economy and its sense of self."

Tristram Hunt, Director of the V&A said: “From London Design Festival installations to major exhibitions such as Donatello, Africa Fashion and DIVA, and the creation of our new museum for children, Young V&A, the relief has enabled us to continue to invest in a rich and varied programme across our family of museums. It has been particularly impactful in helping to support free displays such as the Windrush 75 commemorations and a range of touring exhibitions from Tim Walker: Wonderful Things to Mary Quant, allowing us to share the power of creativity with new audiences internationally and in the UK.”

Esme Ward, Director of Manchester Museum said: “The Museums and Galleries Exhibition Tax Relief has helped to unlock the wider potential of our collections, from our first international touring exhibition Golden Mummies of Egypt to collaboration and co-creation with a diverse range of communities. This means we’ve reached new audiences locally and globally, welcoming almost 900,000 visitors since reopening in February 2023, more than twice as many as in our previous full year of opening.”

Jenny Waldman, Director, Art Fund, said: "The Museums and Galleries Exhibition Tax Relief encourages innovation and sharing of new, original exhibitions. It is a critical support for the vitality and ambition that museums and galleries bring to the cultural life of the UK, so we are delighted that it has been extended / will be made permanent. Whether creating a new way of looking at a collection, a reappraisal of work by a neglected artist, an exhibition by a living artist, or a thematic exploration, every exhibition requires innovation, creates jobs, and importantly serves communities."