U.K. Tax Incentives for High-End TV Projects Delight Industry

The Tudors

Draft legislation will see TV show producers able to access tax credits from April 1, 2013.


LONDON -- Industry lobbying group the TV Coalition has welcomed the government's introduction of legislation for tax relief for high-end TV.

The lobby group, which comprises some of the biggest names in U.K. and international TV production, said the measures will generate an additional $530 million (£350 million) per year for the U.K. economy, create thousands of jobs and keep British skills in demand in a highly competitive industry.

The tax relief for high-end TV will begin on April 1, 2013, subject to state aid approval.

The system aims to enable the U.K. to attract international TV production and put an end to dramas telling a British story going overseas to shoot.

Shows such as Birdsong, Strike Back, The Tudors, Camelot and the Julian Fellowes’ drama Titanic, were all made abroad in countries including South Africa and Canada in the last year to take advantage of overseas tax incentives.

Using the film industry multiplier calculated by Oxford Economics, the benefit of a new incentive would be £12 to U.K. GDP for every £1 of tax relief given.

Therefore, based on a spend of £350 million per year, a tax incentive of 25 percent of qualifying U.K. spend will mean a total return of £1 billion per year to the U.K. economy and wider benefits to regional economies.

The TV Coalition also welcomed the Government’s decision to adopt a headline rate of 25 percent of qualifying U.K. expenditure, mirroring the rate available for low budget film production.

Kudos Film and TV chairman Stephen Garrett, whose company's credits include high end spy drama Spooks, said: "This is welcome news and will ensure that high quality British television drama and documentaries are made where they should be - in the U.K. There will be a real injection into the U.K.’s economy as this new tax relief will generate jobs and growth and encourage tourism while giving the U.K. taxpayer good value for money.”

Producers’ Alliance for Cinema and Television (PACT) chief executive John McVay said: "High budget productions usually run for a number of series investing significant amounts into the local economy and local businesses, creating jobs and keeping local skills at the cutting edge."

Gareth Neame, managing director, Carnival Films, said: “We are delighted with this new tax incentive which will ensure the best British stories are made into quality television on British shores, instead of being filmed abroad. The U.K. economy benefits, British businesses benefit and the skills of our crew are kept at the highest levels. This is a great boost for skills and growth in our sector."

Left Bank Pictures chief executive Andy Harries said: "Left Bank Pictures shot two productions in South Africa this year – Mad Dogs and Strike Back – because the tax breaks available made it a highly competitive destination. We have many other large scale projects in development and this incentive will allow us to make them in the U.K. whilst supporting the U.K.’s creative community."

And Ivan Dunleavy, chief executive of the studio facilities powerhouse The Pinewood Group described the government move as a "massive shot in the arm to the high-end television production industry which will have positive benefits throughout the economy."

Adrian Wootton, chief executive of the British Film Commission and Film London said: "Up until now we have missed out as we were simply not competitive when compared with other territories. This new tax relief is fantastic news for the sector and the U.K. economy and the British Film Commission is looking forward to working with the industry to repeat the success we’ve had in bringing international feature film production to the U.K."

Production Guild of Great Britain chief Alison Small said her organization "will be working closely with our membership and others across the U.K. to ensure that access to relevant information and training is available to support the anticipated new levels of production."