The UK government's has published figures showing the amount of film tax relief provided in support of UK production, since the current scheme was introduced in January 2007.

They show that 110 claims received tax relief to the end of March 2008 totalling $170m (£104m), and covering around 100 new films. Overall 155 claims have been made over this time, for a total of $207m (£126 m). However, a number of the claims are more recent and therefore still being processed.

The UK film tax relief scheme is designed to promote the production of culturally British films. For a film to be eligible it must qualify as 'British' - either by passing the new cultural test or under an agreed co-production treaty - and incur at least 25 percent of the total production expenditure in the UK.

The current scheme was intended to cover a higher proportion of production costs, with the money paid directly to film producers, rather than third parties, making it less open to abuse.

However, co-productions, where some of the film is produced outside of the UK, suffered because of the definition of new qualifying expenditure was changed. UK films that have a component produced overseas receive little if any benefit, potentially hampering international partnerships.

Commenting on the figures, John Woodward CEO of the UK Film Council welcomed the number of productions supported but nodded to the co-production issue:

'The new tax credit is a real improvement in that film makers understand how it works and the money goes directly to the film so it's much more efficient. We do of course monitor film outputs carefully to fully understand the consequences of the new tax credit system on the UK production environment'

However PACT, the UK trade body for independent producers has said that the credit could work better and again highlighted that the current scheme disadvantages UK co-production.

'The new tax credit has worked extremely well for British film, and shown to be a valuable contribution to the sustainability of the industry' said Pact chief executive John McVay.'

'But it could be even more beneficial to both the industry and the British film-goer if it was extended to include co-productions. This would undoubtedly provide more sources of finance - particularly important in the current economic climate - resulting in increased employment for the sector and a greater quality and diversity of films for the British public.' McVay added.

James Bates, Media Director at Deloitte had a more positive overall assessment on the impact of the credit, now that it has had time to bed in, particularly in today's financial market.

'The UK film industry looks set to benefit from the strengthening US$. The decline in inward investment from US film studios since 2003 can be attributed to the decline in the US dollar.

'The UK has a deep pool of film production talent, so if the cost of using them in the UK is reduced, as opposed to shipping them to other countries which brings in other risks and complications, one might expect that to benefit the UK production facilities.

'The signs are good for the British film industry as the pound is cheap again, tax relief is better understood, and we still have the skills and capacity to support this level of film production activity.' Bates said.