TV tax credit 'could end exodus' of big-budget shows

 

The television industry has greeted the planned tax credit as “a much needed shot in the arm” that will stop big-budget shows going abroad to be filmed.

The Chancellor announced the plan - similar to the current film tax credit - and said it would also help attract "top international investors" to the UK.

A spokeswoman for the TV Coalition, made up of some of the biggest names in TV production, said it could "put an end to the exodus" of UK drama that has seen shows including Birdsong and Julian Fellowes' drama Titanic made abroad to take advantage of tax incentives.

Research carried out by the group estimates that the proposed plan would generate around £350 million a year for the UK economy.

Andy Harries, chief executive of Left Bank Pictures which makes shows including Wallander, said: "The proposed changes in the UK tax laws regarding television would give the British TV industry a much needed shot in the arm.

"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.

"Left Bank Pictures are currently shooting two productions in South Africa - Mad Dogs and Strike Back - where tax breaks make it possible to make hugely ambitious dramas on a British TV budget and we have many other large scale projects in development that we would love to be able to make in the UK.

"The proposed changes will also welcome productions from around the world to UK shores and quite apart from the revenue that this will bring to our shores it will also help support the creative community in the UK and help train the next generation of film and TV makers."

Glenn Whitehead, Executive Vice President Business at US cable network HBO, said: "Today's news on a new tax incentive has turned the UK from one of the most expensive options into a competitive and affordable location. We would therefore love to bring more production to the UK."

The plan was also welcomed by leading animation studio Aardman - the company behind Wallace and Gromit.

Head of broadcast and development Miles Bullough, who previously said the firm could be forced to leave the UK to cut down on costs, said 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 a reversing that trend.

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

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