Budget 2012: Tax breaks for TV production

Wallace and Gromit creator Nick Park Nick Park had been considering moving Wallace and Gromit production abroad to save money

A tax credit scheme for TV production and animation firms is to be introduced, in a bid to keep creative talent in Britain.

Chancellor George Osborne announced the plans in Parliament as part of the new Budget for 2012.

Mr Osborne said it was the government's "determined policy" to keep Wallace and Gromit animators Aardman in Britain.

Last month, Aardman bosses admitted they had been considering moving production abroad where it was cheaper.

In reaction to the news, Aardman said the tax credit would be "transformational for our industry".

"We have seen a dramatic decline on UK television of home produced animation and we now have a shot at reversing that trend," said Miles Bullough, head of broadcast and development.

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

'Top international investors'

Lobby group Animation UK had been urging Mr Osborne to consider introducing tax breaks, as it believed production was at risk of disappearing from the UK completely.

Mr Osborne said he hoped the changes would prevent that from happening, not just for animators but for high-end drama productions.

"Not only will this help stop premium British TV programmes like Birdsong being made abroad, it will also attract top international investors like Disney and HBO to make more of their premium shows in the UK," he told MPs.

"It will support our brilliant video games and animation industries too.

Bob The Builder Bob The Builder is currently made in the US

"Because, Mr Deputy Speaker, it is the determined policy of this Government to keep Wallace and Gromit exactly where they are."

Recent shows, such as The Tudors, Camelot and the Julian Fellowes' drama Titanic, were all made abroad to take advantage of tax incentives in other countries.

Animation UK said it was "thrilled" by the announcement, saying it was "the news we have been waiting for".

"Overseas animators have long received support from their governments and hopefully now our industry will be able to compete on a level playing field," chairman Oli Hyatt said.

"It would have been a crime for it to disappear from the UK and that was a very real threat. Today's announcement will hopefully guarantee the long term survival of our industry and ensure it continues to be an industry we are proud of."

Key members of the TV production industry have also welcomed the news.

Kudos Film and TV, which makes shows including The Hour, Law and Order and Spooks called it "fantastic news".

Its chairman, Stephen Garrett, added: "The return on this relatively small investment from the Government will significantly benefit the UK's economy, generating jobs and growth, boosting tourism and giving the UK taxpayer great value for money."

'Affordable location'

Left Bank, whose shows include Wallander and DCI Banks, also welcomed the proposals.

Chief executive Andy Harries said: "The proposed changes in the UK tax laws regarding television would give the British TV industry a much needed shot in the arm.

The chancellor's announcement also served as a joke based on his past references to Labour leader Ed Miliband's likeness to animated character Gromit

"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."

HBO's Glenn Whitehead added: "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 British Film Commission's chief executive Adrian Wootton said: "This has fantastic implications for the UK's production industries and the UK economy."

He added that the introduction of tax breaks in production would "create jobs" and "more investment in the UK".

A BBC spokesperson said: "We welcome the government's desire to support the production industry in the UK and we are keen to shoot more BBC projects on our shores.

"We look forward to engaging with the detailed proposals and how they might be implemented to best effect for the industry as a whole."

In 2009, exports of children's TV programmes that were made in the UK were worth £150m, according to the Department of Culture Media and Sport.

And the UK is the second biggest exporter of television content in the world, with exports worth more than £1.3 billion per year.

Mr Osborne's tax break proposals will be subject to state aid approval and a consultation process, but could be introduced by April 2013.

The chancellor also said there were plans to improve technology in Britain, which will include delivering "super fast broadband" to 90% of the population across 10 of the country's leading cities.


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  • rate this

    Comment number 42.

    Why dont we have a UK version of google ebay amazon warner brothers ,its because people sticking their nose up at the entertainment industry in this country. Dont forget walt disney came from the UK n moved to america,ridley scott also and had to move to america to make his films. Just think what we have lost because we didn't support them n take them serious.

  • rate this

    Comment number 41.

    Many comments on this article show how short sighted and ill informed people are. According to some sources the global entertainment industry is worth $2 trillion. Why shouldn't the UK do what it can to get a bigger slice of that pie. Some people here think that cartoons/games don't make big money or aren't a proper industry. Have they not heard of Disney, Pixar, Nintendo, Playstation etc?

  • rate this

    Comment number 40.

    Why are people against this? You can't pick and choose what industries you want to get Britain out of the economic depression.

  • rate this

    Comment number 39.

    Why money for TV, we have so much rubbish on TV it would be better to stop such long transmissions, they are not needed, there are far to many violent programs, which is why I watch very little. It would be healthier to go for walks, read books, cycle. If they need more money then they should stop paying such high salaries,bonuses. to themselves.

  • rate this

    Comment number 38.

    4. Bibi: "A much higher priority than the NHS, the elderly, the poor and the unwaged, obviously."

    Keeping tax paying multi-million pound entertainment companies operating in this country is a very good way of paying for those.


Comments 5 of 42


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