UK Chancellor George Osborne’s Autumn Statement has several pieces of good news for the film industry, such as ‘modernising’ the film tax credit, boosting the VFX sector and allocating £5m for the NFTS’ digital village.
Senior figures in the UK film industry have given a hugely enthusiastic response to UK Chancellor George Osborne’s Autumn Statement, calling it “wonderful news.”
Osborne has promised a “modernising” of the UK tax film tax credit which looks set to make the UK a far more attractive co-production partner as well as to boost the UK’s post-production sector. The Statement has also pledged £5 million in funding for National Film & Television School’s Digital Village.
“It’s very positive, especially in terms of our international strategy,” a BFI spokesperson commented. “It’s good news for film. The Government are clearly putting their weight behind film and see it as an area of growth - an industry that performs well both in terms of export and inward investment.”
“The tax relief was a game changer when introduced in 2007 and today’s announcement ensures we can continue to grow our industry, boosting the UK economy and creating British jobs; it will also encourage the production of more culturally British projects,” added Film London Chief Executive Adrian Wootton.
Key tweaks to the tax credit include making relief available at 25% on the first £20 million of qualifying production expenditure and 20% thereafter, for small and large budget films, subject to state aid clearance.
This will make the Film Tax Relief easier to use and more attractive, as well as eradicate the ‘cliff edge’ between the 20% and 25% schemes; reducing the minimum UK expenditure requirement from 25% to 10% to encourage further investment in the UK, benefit visual effects and wider industry, support UK independent production and encourage minority co-productions where the UK spend is less than 25%; making changes to the cultural test - which will be expanded to allow for European as well as British Culture, in line with other creative content tax reliefs.
The test will become a 35 point test with a pass mark of 18 and will include an increase in the points available for principal photography/ special effects/ visual effects and English language.
Alex Hope, Managing Director of Double Negative commented: “Adjusting the film tax relief so that it reflects changes in the production process will enable the UK industry to capitalise on its strengths in VFX and cutting-edge production technologies. This makes financial and creative sense.”
The NFTS has also expressed its delight at the news of its new funding. NFTS Director Nik Powell commented: “This fantastic funding will enable the NFTS to train more students in the globally competitive high level skills required by the creative industries.
“It is a tremendous vote of confidence in the School and its ability to train Oscars and BAFTA winners as well as the craft skills needed to support the creative industries. This is shown by Sky TV’s keenness to take on so many of the students from our Broadcast Production course before they’ve even graduated.”
The tax changes announced will be introduced from April 2014, subject to state aid approval, and legislation in the Finance Bill 2014.
For more response from the industry, click here.