UK production levels from inward investment and local films limped to $696.6m (£433.1m) last year, only slightly up on 2001's disastrous tally of $660.4m, according to figures from support body the Film Council.

Inward investment from overseas films and TV productions shooting in the UK such as Lara Croft And The Cradle Of Life rose only 16% to $430.8m (£267.8m), despite having fallen 57% the year before. Local films fell from $289.7m (£180.1m) in 2001 to $265.8m (£165.3m) in 2002.

For the first time, the council also included co-productions, meaning that an additional $213.9m (£133.8m) from 43 films brought the overall tally to $911.8m (£566.9m). The additional $213.9m only includes films' UK spend.

The number of films was also down. The UK was involved in 30 inward investment productions, down from 2001's total of 38. The council counted Die Another Day and Neverland amongst its 19 feature films and 11 TV productions, with US companies accounting for 10 features and five TV productions. At 42, the number of local productions was also down on the 2001 total of 51.

The council said that fewer films were being made on bigger budgets. Johnny English, Love Actually and the Sylvia Plath Project were amongst the larger scale local titles that shot last year.

"Both inward investment and domestic production figures show a clear trend towards fewer films with bigger budgets," said British Film Commissioner Steve Norris.

Offering some comfort, the overall volume of production is still more than four times the 1992 level of $157.6m (£98m). Many regard the current slump as a necessary cooling after an unsustainable boom in the late 90s.