Whitehall gets tough with film budget rules

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The Independent Culture

The Government plans to get tough with filmmakers who have abused international film co-production treaties to try to ensure more money is spent on movie-making in the UK.

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport has negotiated with Canadian authorities to double the amount of money that must be spent in the UK on any UK/Canada co-production.

In future, a minimum of 40 per cent of the budget will have to be spent in Britain to win British "certification" and qualify for tax breaks. That compares with a previous rate of 20 per cent.

A review of other international co-production treaties is to follow to make sure they are bringing real cultural and economic benefits to Britain.

Britain has existing treaties with Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, New Zealand and Norway. A European convention also puts in place agreements between the UK and 30 other European countries.

Fears have arisen in recent years that the treaties have been abused. Some producers are believed to have exaggerated how much of a film's budget was spent in the UK in order to qualify as British. The number of co-productions has soared from 10 in 1992 to 142 in 2003.