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UK TV and film industry reacts to Autumn Statement

23/11/2023

Organisations including the UK Screen Alliance, British Film Commission, BFI and Bectu have reacted to Jeremy Hunts plan to provide more additional tax relief for expenditure on visual effects

By Jenny Priestley

Published: November 23, 2023

Organisations including the UK Screen Alliance, British Film Commission, BFI and Bectu have reacted to Jeremy Hunt's plan to provide more additional tax relief for expenditure on visual effects

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As part of his Autumn Statement yesterday, chancellor Jeremy Hunt announced a number of proposals that will have an impact on the UK's TV and film industry.

Writing in the foreword to the consultation document, Hunt said: I can confirm that we will provide more additional tax relief for expenditure on visual effects, to boost the international competitiveness of the UK's offer .

The Treasury has issued a call for evidence to take what it describes as the first, crucial step towards this , and provide the government with the depth of understanding it needs to develop targeted proposals that will best serve the needs of the VFX industry.

The Statement also announced 500 million of investment across the next two years in compute power to help make the UK an AI powerhouse.

Hunt's announcement generally received a positive reaction from industry organisations.

Neil Hatton, CEO of UK Screen Alliance, which has long campaigned for reform to the UK's screen sector tax credits, said, This consultation and the promise of a more competitive incentive, should aim to position the UK as the first choice destination for VFX production for international film and TV. We are focussed on capturing a larger market share as global demand for VFX recovers, following the US actors' strike, and we aim to play a full part in growing the UK's creative industries towards the government's 2030 targets.

Adrian Wootton OBE, chief executive of the British Film Commission, described the chancellor's announcement as a clear recognition from government of the value of the UK's film and TV sector, at home and abroad .

The announcement of a call for evidence on how best to increase the generosity of the Audio-Visual Expenditure Credit for visual effects is hugely welcome and will further boost our world-leading sector's offer internationally. Our reliable fiscal incentives, recently enhanced and reconfirmed, will ensure our competitiveness, cost effectiveness and transparency. And our support for the industry via the British Film Commission's work has been recognised and maintained. It's a package of measures that rightly demonstrates confidence and backs growth in our phenomenal UK film and TV sector in a period of intensifying global competition.

Ben Roberts, BFI chief executive, added: The government's screen tax reliefs have been vital in bringing productions to the UK which in 2022 translated into a 6.27 billion spend on film and High-End television production alone. In the face of increasing international incentives, the enhanced credits with further funding to support the infrastructure through BFI Certification Unit and BFC, help to lay the foundations for continued growth and jobs. The consultation on additional tax relief for visual effects expenditure (VFX) to be delivered through the Audio-Visual Expenditure Credit underlines the increasing importance of digital skills and job opportunities within the workforce.

However, not everyone was pleased with the chancellor's announcement. Head of Bectu, Philippa Childs, described it as a missed opportunity to support the UK's creative sector and its workforce.

There is little in this statement that offers the protection and reassurance our members need, following another very difficult year of soaring costs, a continuing skills shortage and long periods of unpredictable employment, she added.

Some of our self-employed members may benefit from the abolition of Class 2 National Insurance contributions and the reduction of Class 4 contributions by 1 per cent, but these headline-grabbing promises offer little when considered alongside the bigger picture of an ongoing lack of investment in the sector, and freelance workers who are continually left out in the cold, she added.

Whilst the chancellor claims that this is an Autumn statement for growth', there is next to nothing in this budget that materially supports our world-class creative industries and a largely freelance workforce that is still reeling from the effects of the pandemic, the cost-of-living crisis and insecure employment.
LINK: https://www.tvbeurope.com/business/uk-tv-and-film-industry-reacts-to-a...
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