Film and TV industry needs tax break changes

UK Screen and PACT met with the Treasury last week to discuss plans of reducing the minimum spend that must be spent on a high-end UK television show from 25% to 10% in order for the programme to qualify for a tax break.

The meeting came in response to George Osborne's autumn statement in which he outlined that the government would consider reducing the amount. PACT and UK Screen were joined at the meeting by senior figures from post-production houses plus Film London, The British Film Commission and the Department for Culture, Media & Sport.

Post production firms in particular would benefit from the shift as UK Screen reported that the investment in VFX for a VFX-laden drama would rarely go over 15%, therefore the change could open up a huge market in the TV industry for post-production companies. Currently, with regard to major budget films, VFX spend could be anywhere between 10% and 50%.

CEO Will Cohen of BAFTA award-winning VFX company Milk, spoke to The Knowledge regarding the tax break, "It would certainly stimulate more international work for all the post services, including VFX. Anything that is shot abroad can now get a break on VFX here which is a brilliant thing. We have an industry that has grown significantly; Harry Potter turned us into a globally recognised service, which I think London is currently leading."

CEO of BAFTA award-winning Jellyfish Pictures Phil Dobree also added, "Being able to receive tax credits from just doing VFX here is important. It's crucial to help our SME's thrive as they're the lifeblood of our economy."

The UK film and TV industry will wait with baited breath as the government is expected to announce its decision before the general election on 7 May.

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