UK producers remain concerned about the scope of the new British tax laws, a panel of government representatives were told in London yesterday.

The UK's new film tax breaks will come into practice on Jan 1, 2007, after a long journey of uncertainty but producers remain concerned about the qualifying criteria for the relief.

The tax break, for example, does not to include 'in development' costs but producers are unclear about what exactly is meant by development.

UK producer Clive Parsons asked: "would the costs of writing the script count as in production or in development'"

David Harris from HM Revenue and Customs acknowledged that the boundaries between the two would need to be discussed between the producer and the tax inspector.

At the moment HMRC has rough guidelines on how the new tax credit will work, but Harris said they are by no means finite. The final guidelines are expected at the start of next year.

Another concern for the industry is the 'Cultural Test' provided by the Department for Culture Media and Sport which a production must comply with in order to receive the tax relief.

The qualifying targets have been weighted much more heavily towards British cultural criteria - like characters, themes and cast - since the European Commission demanded changes to the original proposals.

Several producers were worried that the requirements would alienate US studio productions from shooting their films in the UK for not being British enough.

John Woodward, chief executive of the UK Film Council, who chaired the session, said the studios had been fully involved in the discussions about how the tax credit will work and what is needed to comply with the cultural test.

Rebecca Greenfield, head of film policy at the DCMS added: "Films like Harry Potter would still pass and the new Bond might also."

However, one producer told Screen "films like Batman might struggle to comply with the new tax credit. The worry is that if studios pull these kinds of films from shooting in the UK the infrastructure in this country will suffer."