Insights British Film Institute publishes Screen Business 2021 showing record levels of production in UK


Screen Business 2021 reveals the highest ever return on investment to the UK economy of £13.48 billion (GVA) from the UK’s government’s screen tax reliefs from 2017-2019.

The triennial report shows that tax reliefs:

  1. generated record-breaking levels of production and jobs;
  2. grew local businesses and infrastructure expansion across the UK’s nations and England’s regions;
  • attracted record levels of inward investment;
  1. boosted exports of UK productions and services internationally; and
  2. created wider economic benefits for other industries, including tourism and retail.

The BFI says that the report underlines how the strength and resilience of the screen industries pre-pandemic has enabled the production sector to bounce back so effectively and become one of the UK’s strongest booming industries, with £4.7 billion production spend on film and high-end television alone from January to September 2021. Over the three-year period of the report, direct spend on screen production in the UK has increased by 74% between 2017 and 2019 to reach £13.86 billion (£7.94 billion, 2014-2016).

The report reveals that an estimated £1.02 billion in tax relief seeded £5.11 billion in direct production spend in 2019, a 61% increase on 2016, and led to an additional £6.43 billion in GVA for the UK economy. UK-made productions generated £13.48 billion in overall GVA, a 23.7% increase between 2017and 2019.

This GVA yielded £3.6 billion in tax revenues for the Exchequer in 2019, a 27% increase since 2017. Production spend on film, high-end, children’s television and animation which would not take place without the tax reliefs, known as additionality, was worth £6.14 billion in 2019.

  • Direct spend on production generated record £5.11 billion in 2019 across all screen sectors, up from £4.31 billion in 2017:
  • £2.08 billion from high-end TV production (HETV), a 70% increase on 2017;
  • £2.02 billion from film production; spend consistently exceeding £2 billion a year;
  • £860.4 million (estimated) from video games development supported by tax relief, 23% up from £700.8 million (estimated) in 2017;
  • £86 million from children’s TV programme production, a 16% increase on 2017;
  • £65.3 million from animation programme production, a 27% decrease on 2017; and
  • inward investment and co-production spend for film, HETV, animation and children’s programmes are driving boom with £3.45 billion in 2019, 81% of total spend.

To read the BFI’s news announcement in full and for a link to the report, click here.