Germany's State Minister for Culture and MediaChristina Weiss has called for the introduction of a tax incentive system onthe lines of the British sale and leaseback model.
Speaking to the German weekly magazine DerSpiegel, Weiss criticised the current situation where the US film industryhad been the prime beneficiary of the country's private media funds.
"People have financed films which didn'tinterest them - and our Ministry of Finance granted them tax advantages forthis. The effect for the German film industry was nil," she claimed.
According to a spokeswoman for Weiss, theproposal for a model similar to the UK's tax system is the minister's goalalthough there is no draft bill ready or a set timetable for bringing anylegislation to parliament.
Weiss is currently at the stage of"negotiations within the Federal Government" about such a concept andis discussing it with Federal Finance Minister Hans Eichel.
Weiss' comments will be welcomed by producerslobby group film20 which has long supported the idea of tax incentives with alocal spend requirement.
In a recent speech, film20's secretary generalGeorgia Tornow observed that Germany "is the only country where theincentive for investors - i.e. their tax advantage - is not linked to a localspend. Consequently, we have the only incentive model in the world which givesan encouragement to support the competition. Our tax shelter model'supports,above all, Hollywood via German film funds!"
According to film20'scalculations, the introduction of a sale and leaseback-style system with a"local spend" requirement could result in 50% more jobs in the filmindustry and at least a tripling of jobs in associated industries and regionalproduction centres by 2010.