Minister vows to keep backing creative darling high-end TV

The creative industries have reported a shot in the arm in its darling sector of high-end television, ahead of further potential support in next month's Spring Statement 2019.

In fact, reflecting on high-end TV spend hitting its greatest level since tax relief was introduced, the government said it would "continue to back the sector further."

Margot James, creative industries minister, also said that high-end TV in the UK, which attracted a peak £1.17bn across 119  productions in 2018, has helped make Britain a "global powerhouse for the screen industries."

As to what has helped the sector itself, which last year turned out productions such as The Crown, Black Mirror, The War of the Worlds and Luther, the British Film Institute alluded to Budget 2012.

Specifically, the BFI spoke of the UK's "supportive fiscal environment created by the UK’s creative sector tax reliefs" which, for high-end TV, was unveiled by the previous chancellor George Osborne.

"The benefits are being felt UK-wide with production expanding in the nations and regions, boosting the economy, building skills, creating jobs and giving opportunities for people of all backgrounds to join our industry," said BFI's CEO Amanda Nevill.

She added: "Audiences are increasingly watching film and television on a variety of platforms  and  at  the  same  time  are  going  to  the  cinema  more  than  ever."

Of the 119 high-end TV  titles, 55 were domestic UK productions with a spend of £378million, representing a 19% increase from the consolidated spend of £319m in 2017.

The figures came as one adviser to the creative industries suggested that all sectors in receipt of tax breaks (all are largely modelled on film tax relief introduced in 2007), not just high-end TV, will want their relief left intact, or extended, at Spring Statement.

"Reliefs available to [screen] productions...must meet the BFI’s cultural test," said the adviser Abbey Tax. "[But] there are tax reliefs available to other creative industry sectors, including theatres, orchestras, museums and galleries which have not been included in the [BFI's latest] statistics. The tax reliefs available [there] are just as valuable".


21st February 2019

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