Creative industry tax relief plan launched


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A drive to make the UK an affordable location for the production of big-budget television shows, animation and video games was launched today.

It is hoped the planned tax relief move by the Treasury will stem a recent exodus of drama-making from the UK, which has seen small-screen productions such as The Tudors and (Lord) Julian Fellowes' drama Titanic shot overseas.

In contrast, film-makers in the UK have enjoyed tax relief since 2007.

TV Coalition, which is made up of some of the biggest names in TV production, welcomed today's launch of a consultation into plans announced in this year's Budget to introduce tax relief for creative industries.

Andy Harries, chief executive of Left Bank Pictures, said: "British production talent is responsible for some of the best television in the world and at the moment many productions, which could very easily be shot in the UK, are being made abroad and many talented creatives are moving elsewhere."

His firm shot only one day out of two series of military agency thriller Strike Back in the UK, which cost around £2.2 million per hour-long episode.

If there had been a tax incentive it would have shot one-third in the UK, not South Africa and Hungary, and as much as 75% of the budget could be in the UK.

Research carried out by the TV Coalition concluded that a UK tax credit, similar to that of the film industry, would generate at least £350 million per year as a result of high-budget TV production relocating to the UK.

It also said that it would create thousands of jobs and preserve British skills in a highly competitive economy.

Aardman, the animation studio behind Bafta-winning Wallace & Gromit, is among those set to benefit from the tax move.

Aardman's head of broadcast and development, Miles Bullough, said at the time of the Budget that the tax credit would be transformational for the industry.

He said: "We have seen a dramatic decline on UK television of home-produced animation and we now have a shot at reversing that trend.

"This will create thousands of UK jobs and our research shows that there will be a long-term financial gain for the UK."

A consultation with companies, individuals and professional bodies from the creative industries will run until September 10.

Chancellor George Osborne said today: "I want the UK to remain a world leader in the creative industries, that's why I am announcing tax reliefs that will be among the most generous available anywhere."

Mr Osborne said the support was key to efforts to grow the economy.