Budget Break For Drama Producers?

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There is optimism this week that the UK Chancellor George Osborne is going to unveil tax breaks for British drama productions in his budget (Wednesday March 21).

Leading producers have lobbied extensively for tax breaks over the last year in order to prevent high-end projects like Parade’s End, Strike Back, Birdsong and Titanic from having to go abroad to shoot.  Osborne is said to be sympathetic and could trigger tax relief that would save the drama sector millions of pounds a year.

Osborne is likely to focus on a relatively narrow pool of productions that cost more than £1m an hour to make. Even so, this could result in a significant boost for service companies and suppliers based in the UK. A similar tax break for the film industry is widely acknowledged to have helped support that sector.

Julian Fellowes, creator of Downton Abbey and a big supporter of the campaign, said: "British TV is second to none but unfortunately, time and time again, great British programmes are being made overseas where the tax climate is more favourable. If the budget can address this, it would be a fantastic move forward for our industry and the country as a whole, as a host of new productions would undoubtedly be produced here.”