The BFI and more than 100 filmmakers and industry leaders have today overwhelmingly welcomed the introduction of a 53% expenditure credit (equating to a tax relief of approximately 40%) for UK film productions with a budget up to £15m.

The intervention was announced today in the Government’s Spring Budget to support this vital, but severely challenged, part of the UK’s film industry. This follows work from the BFI and industry and Pact’s proposal to model how tax relief could be made more effective and has been welcomed by filmmakers including Christopher Nolan, Emma Thomas, Idris Elba, Tilda Swinton, Edgar Wright, Mike Leigh, Andrew Haigh, Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner, Barbara Broccoli, David Heyman, Kenneth Branagh, Daniel Kaluuya, Danny Boyle, Riz Ahmed, Gurinder Chadha, Sam Mendes, Steve McQueen, Elizabeth Karlsen, Andrea Arnold, Asif Kapadia, Emerald Fennell, Gareth Edwards, Joanna Hogg, Nida Manzoor, Paul King and Andrew ‘Rapman’ Onwubolu.

This uplift marks a transformative moment for the sector as producers and filmmakers have increasingly struggled to finance films at this level and get them into production in the UK.

Also announced today is a package of measures further supporting the sector including a 40% relief on gross business rates bills for eligible film studios in England, until 2034; funding for an extension at the UK’s world-leading National Film and Television School; and a 5% increase in tax relief for UK visual effects costs in film and high-end TV, under the Audio-Visual Expenditure Credit (AVEC) with an exemption on the AVEC’s 80% cap on qualifying expenditure.

David Parfitt, producer The Father, My Week With Marilyn, Shakespeare In Love; Chair of North East Screen, said “Independent film is in desperate need of support despite its global reputation and I am delighted that the Government has stepped up at this critical time – a successful industry will pay back in spades.”

Ben Roberts, BFI Chief Executive, said: ‘This is a dramatic moment for UK film, and the most significant policy intervention since the 1990s. The positive impact will be felt across our industry, and through all the new films that audiences will get to enjoy. The films we make are vital to our culture expression and creativity – they reflect a diverse and global Britain, and build careers – and we’re grateful to Government, the DCMS, the industry and our friends at Pact for working together to realise this historic initiative.’

Sir Ridley Scott, director, said: “Expanding tax relief to support UK independent film has never been more needed if this vital part of the industry is to survive and thrive. Over the course of my career I’ve seen how creativity is born and lives within independent filmmaking, and has been intrinsic to the industry’s growth and success; as well as being the source of important stories that matter to society. It also happens to be something we do spectacularly well – expanding tax relief will help ensure we continue the pipeline of great British stories and talent, both in front of and behind the camera.”

David Puttnam, producer, Chariots Of Fire, Local Hero, Midnight Express, The Mission, said: “Fifty years ago, as a young producer trying to forge a career, I was hugely enabled by Government support then available in the form of the Eady Fund. Today’s young producers, already doing better work than I ever aspired to, need a similar boost if they’re to deliver the success the industry needs, and the nation craves for. The need is critical, the moment is now.”

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