Back in March, the UK government said it would introduce tax breaks aimed at animation, high-end TV production and video games. Today, treasury secretary George Osborne has opened a consultation on the matter seeking opinion from the industry to help design the package. “I want the UK to remain a world leader in the creative industries, that’s why I am announcing tax reliefs that will be among the most generous available anywhere. High-end TV, animation and video games production are exactly the kind of innovative, high-tech industries at which this country excels, and the government is determined to support them as part of our efforts to grow this economy,” Osborne said.
The schemes are expected to resemble the 25% film tax break already in place. That credit provided £200M of support to the British film industry in 2010-11. “High-end” TV shows have been described as those costing $1M or more an hour to produce, along the lines of Downton Abbey. Eligibility requirements are likely to include a cultural test and a certain level of local spend. The British animation industry has suffered its share of runaway production in recent years, and the tax relief is eyed as one way to keep producers at home. The consultation is seeking views from individuals, companies, representative and professional bodies on the proposed design options for the relief. The government says it’s especially eager to hear from production companies. The consultation closes September 10 with draft legislation to be published in the fall. The breaks are expected to be implemented from April 2013 going forward.