Eilean Donan Castle, Scotland

Press

Press Release
Monday 29 April 2013

New Creative Sector Tax Reliefs Launched:

  • George Osborne MP, Chancellor of the Exchequer announces groundbreaking opportunities for UK creative industries
  • British Film Commission already fielding interest

LONDON – Monday 29 April 2013. This morning saw the industry launch of the new Creative Sector Tax Reliefs hosted by the British Film Commission (BFC) at BAFTA, 195 Piccadilly, W1. The event provided an overview of the new tax reliefs and their potential impact on the UK high-end television, animation and games industries.

George Osborne MP, Chancellor of the Exchequer gave a supportive opening speech followed by remarks by Ed Vaizey MP, Minister for Culture, Communications and Creative Industries. Both outlined the importance of the UK creative industries and how the new incentives are vital in ensuring the UK remains a world leader in these sectors, continuing to encourage investment and creating thousands of jobs. Iain Smith, Chair of the BFC acted as Master of Ceremonies and Amanda Nevill, CEO of the BFI, who co-fund the British Film Commission also welcomed the new measures.

Presentations followed from industry experts and then breakout groups focusing on the individual tax reliefs. The session focusing on high-end television included a case study of HBO’s Game of Thrones which has just been renewed for its fourth season in Northern Ireland and is exactly the kind of production the new relief is designed to attract. Jay Roewe, Senior VP Production for HBO in the US and Richard Williams, CEO of Northern Ireland Screen provided an enlightening overview of their successful working partnership.

Another breakout group focused on the animation and games sectors. The games session explained the reasons behind the recently announced EC investigation of the proposed scheme and outlined the action being taken by the UK games industry and UK government to respond to the investigation. Specific case studies of Q Pootle 5 for animation and Super Hexagon for games were explored.

Both sessions also included a walkthrough of the value and application of the new tax relief and qualifying criteria which will be overseen by the BFI’s Certification Unit. The cultural tests for the new sectors are based on the cultural test for film which has successfully been administered by the BFI’s Certification Unit since 2007. This is the first stage of the application process in accessing the tax relief.

The British Film Commission (BFC) who hosted the event in association with Animation UK, Ukie and the BFI were delighted with the turnout of over 200 of the top UK creative industry professionals. The BFC, Animation UK and Ukie are the national agencies responsible for working with stakeholders within their own sectors to maximise the opportunities provided by the new incentives – the event today was successful in its aim to engage with the UK industry, to raise awareness of the opportunities and challenges and to be ready for the potential influx of business.

Prior to today’s event the BFC has been promoting awareness of the new Tax Relief for High-end Television overseas. The BFC hosted successful events in both LA and New York earlier in April for US studios, broadcasters, producers and agents as well as attending MIP TV in Cannes to promote the new incentive. While last week saw the BFC welcome nine top TV executives from North America for a week long tour of the UK to provide a comprehensive overview of the UK’s high-end television industry.

George Osborne MP, Chancellor of the Exchequer remarked “The Government’s industrial strategy is simple: we want to identify Britain’s strengths and reinforce them, so that Britain can compete in the modern global economy. Our creative industries are one of the jewels in Britain’s crown and are just the kind of industry I want to back, which is why we are introducing these new tax breaks to help and promote production in the UK.”

Ed Vaizey MP, Minister for Culture, Communications and Creative Industries said “The UK’s creative industries are a real success story, worth more than £36 billion a year. We know that the television and animation sectors make a real difference to the UK economy and these new tax reliefs will be instrumental in expanding our potential. Together with the investments in training and development we are making, British companies will grow and build on their already impressive international reputation.”

Adrian Wootton, Chief Executive of the British Film Commission and Film London said at the event: “This is a game-changing measure. The British Film Commission is thrilled with the extensive amount of interest that has already been generated. Today’s event is another key step in raising awareness and we will continue to work hard in attracting inward investment into the UK. We must also express thanks to Government for listening to the industry and acting accordingly. And the BFC must especially thank DCMS, UKTI, BFI and our commercial sponsors for their continued support.”

Iain Smith, Producer and Chair of the BFC, adds: “Britain should be rightly proud of its long established film and television industry. However we are now entering a period of unprecedented international competition. Led by the British Film Commission, we must continue to fight rigorously to maintain our position as a leading centre of production. Today’s event marks a significant milestone towards achieving just that. The new tax relief declares to the world that Britain is open and ready for business.”

Oli Hyatt, Chair, Animation UK added “Animated shows from the UK have long punched above their weight in a large global industry, but over recent years UK companies have struggled to compete with a range of overseas government-backed animation incentives. Production has been persuaded abroad and in turn intellectual property. The tax reliefs that the government has launched today, coupled with the training fund, puts us on an equal playing field with the rest of the world. This means our industry can grow significantly over the next five years, creating jobs, developing culture and protecting our animation legacy for generations to come.”

Ian Livingstone, Vice Chairman, Ukie added: “The UK games industry requires a tax credit scheme in order to fulfil its true potential, in particular helping more British businesses to make more culturally British games to compete in the global market. We are very disappointed that the EC has announced a full investigation into the UK Games tax credit scheme. The UK industry will be responding in full to all their questions and would urge the Commission to approve the scheme as soon as possible.”

Jay Roewe, Senior VP Production for HBO added “HBO have always had positive experiences in the UK – it is a world-leading resource of acting talent, crews, locations, studio and post-production facilities. We have recently announced production of the 4th season of Game of Thrones, due to start in Summer 2013 in its existing base of Titanic Studios in Northern Ireland and we look forward to working with our UK colleagues once again. For us, this new measure for television launched today will make filming in the UK an even more viable proposition.”

Nick Baird, CEO, UK Trade & Investment added “In these changing and challenging times, trade and investment have never been more important. We’ve all seen the benefit of inward investment, specifically from the US, through big budget film and high-end television productions coming to UK and their positive impact on employment, skills and infrastructure. It’s a sector with huge potential, not just restricted to London and the South East but across the whole of the UK. It is for these reasons the Government has invested in this sector, entering into a strategic partnership with the British Film Commission in order to capitalise on the opportunities presented by the new television relief. This will enable the BFC to promote the new relief and the UK’s high-end film industry internationally.”

Amanda Nevill, CEO, BFI added “With the film industry outperforming the economy as a whole the film tax relief has proven how valuable it is in driving industry growth both through inward investment and home grown production. These new tax reliefs are a huge shot in the arm for the burgeoning creative sectors and vital in bringing new opportunities for the development of high value skills and employment and creative excellence of future generations. We’re proud to contribute to the funding of the BFC which has been tasked with attracting new high-end television production to the UK on the back of the new incentive.”

ENDS

For further press information, please contact:
Colette Geraghty
T: +44 (0) 20 7613 7679
E: colette.geraghty@filmlondon.org.uk