Animation flees UK as tax breaks are not part of the picture

Industry fears that lack of film-type subsidies will force firms overseas

It may be the birthplace of classic children's characters such as Thomas the Tank Engine, Bob the Builder, Noddy and Peppa Pig, but now the UK's animation industry is warning that it will flee abroad faster than a flick-book figure unless it gets tax breaks.

More than three-quarters of Britain's 600-plus independent animation firms have either moved already or are considering shifting overseas, says a new report, Securing the Future of UK Animation. British stars such as Aardman Animations, creator of Wallace & Gromit, are pushing production work abroad to enjoy vital subsidies. The report estimates that animation conceived and produced in England alone has fallen from 83 per cent six years ago to 23 per cent.

Miles Bullough, Aardman's head of broadcast, says he is considering partnering a German production firm to make Ploo, a new pre-school animation, "purely... because of the parlous state of financing in the UK". By moving the work they could expect £870,000 in subsidies. "Ireland, France, Germany and Canada enjoy considerable support from regional and national government," he added. The UK offers no support for the industry, which employs an estimated 4,500 people in the UK, and which, worldwide, is worth around £43bn.

Animation UK, author of the report, believes offering tax breaks like those offered to films made here would enable work and talent to remain.

Hit Entertainment, poised to be sold to the US toy giant Mattel, says it benefits from overseas subsidies to produce some of the UK's best-loved classics. Thomas & Friends is produced in Canada, while Bob the Builder is made in America.

Oli Hyatt, chairman of Animation UK and director of Blue-Zoo, said the firm's Bafta-nominated series Alphablocks moved production to Israel to partner a firm there this year. "People around the world want to buy our content," he said. "We want to make it. If we stop, our talent base leaks overseas."

Marcus Kenyon, co-founder of Finger Industries, worked on initial designs of Mike the Knight with Hit Entertainment, but the show, which debuts on children's TV this month, was made in Canada. Finger's new project, Jack Mach, also to be made in Canada, will be sold to an international firm which is investing £4m to produce 52 10-minute episodes. Mr Kenyon said: "If we have to give away 65 per cent of production to Canada, we also have to give away 65 per cent of the merchandising income."

Jeremy Hunt, Culture Secretary, has indicated to Animation UK that he will be discussing future support at the film policy review before Christmas.

Arts and Entertainment

game of thrones reviewWarning: spoilers

Arts and Entertainment
The original Star Wars trio of Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher and Mark Hamill

George Osborne confirms Star Wars 8 will film at Pinewood Studios in time for 4 May

film

Arts and Entertainment
Haunted looks: Matthew Macfadyen and Timothy Spall star in ‘The Enfield Haunting’

North London meets The Exorcist in eerie suburban drama

TV

Arts and Entertainment

Filming to begin on two new series due to be aired on Dave from next year

TV

Arts and Entertainment
Kit Harington plays MI5 agent Will Holloway in Spooks: The Greater Good

'You can't count on anyone making it out alive'film
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

    Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

    Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
    Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

    Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

    Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
    China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

    China's influence on fashion

    At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
    Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

    The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

    Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
    Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

    Rainbow shades

    It's all bright on the night
    'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

    Bread from heaven

    Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
    Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

    How 'the Axe' helped Labour

    UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
    Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

    The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

    A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
    Welcome to the world of Megagames

    Welcome to the world of Megagames

    300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
    'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

    Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

    Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

    The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
    Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

    Vince Cable exclusive interview

    Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
    Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

    Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

    Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
    Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

    It's time for my close-up

    Meet the man who films great whites for a living
    Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

    Homeless people keep mobile phones

    A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before