£850m tax relief paid out to film and TV producers

Government figures show that the amount in tax relief offered to the creative sector rose significantly, with nearly 300 UK films and TV shows choosing to benefit in 2018 from the cost reduction it offers

In 2017-18, more than £850m in tax relief was paid out to companies producing creative content in the UK, with around 180 UK films, 90 TV shows and more than 2,000 theatre productions also taking part in the scheme.

2,420 films, 530 TV productions and 480 videogames have benefited from the tax relief since its introduction. Recent beneficiaries of the relief include Hollywood blockbusters such as Avengers: Infinity War, Paddington and Ready Player One, and television productions including the BBC’s Bodyguard, Doctor Who and Luther.

Film tax relief is available of 25% of a qualifying film’s production expenditure, regardless of its budget. However, films must either pass a ‘culture test’, which requires a production to meet the minimum criteria on a points-based system provided by the British Film Institute (BFI), or qualify as an official co-production.

Creative sector tax reliefs were first introduced in 2009 and were intended to support production companies filming in Britain, ‘enabling the industry to work on the global stage, while generating thousands of jobs’.

In 2013 the scheme was expanded to include television, theatre productions and video games. More than £100bn was contributed to the UK economy by creative industries in 2017.

Amanda Nevill, chief executive of the BFI, said: ‘The government’s screen sector tax reliefs play a vital role in enabling our film and television industries to work on a global stage and do what they do best - creating world-class film and television, generating thousands of jobs for talented people working in front of and behind the camera.

‘UK-made films and television productions are a vibrant part of our storytelling culture, celebrated by audiences at home and abroad and showcase UK creative excellence to the world.’

Report by James Bunney

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