THE Octagon Theatre has welcomed plans to introduce tax relief for the industry.

A consultation has been launched on the proposals, with the new tax reductions set to come into effect on September 1.

The initiative has been welcomed by several regional theatres, including the Octagon.

Roddy Gauld, the Octagon’s chief executive, said: “Regional theatres like the Octagon are an important part of an industry which is celebrated across the globe.

“Numerous world-class actors, designers and directors have begun their careers here, as have new plays that are now part of the canon of British work.

“The health of our industry relies upon investing in new talent, ideas and audiences, so this is welcome and recognises the important cultural and economic contribution the arts makes.”

The new theatre tax relief will support theatres across the UK, as well as touring productions.

It will offer a relief rate of 25 per cent for qualifying touring productions and 20 per cent for other qualifying productions.

Chancellor George Osborne said: “The UK has some of the most innovative and exciting theatre companies in the world and is known for its ground-breaking productions. I want to make sure the industry continues to thrive.”

The theatre tax relief will encourage and support the sector to continue to develop across the UK, with an emphasis on touring productions which face a higher risk.

Sarah Maxfield, northern area director at the Arts Council, said: “The performing arts make a significant contribution to the economy and our quality of life and the theatre tax relief is important recognition of that.

“The scheme will help to create an environment where creative risks can be taken and where work can be more easily produced and toured.

“It is vital that it supports the theatre sector across the country and benefits arts organisations that receive public investment.”