Budget 2015: more good news for the UK’s creative industries

George Osborne follows up on the introduction of tax relief for high-end television programmes, animation, video games and theatre productions and the expansion of the successful tax relief scheme for films.

In today’s Budget, Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne followed up on the introduction of tax relief for high-end television programmes, animation, video games and theatre productions and the expansion of the successful tax relief scheme for films by announcing further welcome support to the UK creative industries.

Increase in the rate of film tax relief: The government will increase the rate of film tax relief to 25% for all qualifying expenditure, subject to state aid clearance, from 1 April 2015.

New tax relief for children’s television: The government will introduce a new tax relief for the production of children’s television programmes from 1 April 2015. This will include programmes which are game shows or competitions. The relief will be available at a rate of 25% on qualifying expenditure.

Reduction in the level of minimum UK expenditure for high-end television tax relief: Currently at least 25% of total qualifying expenditure on a high-end television programme must be UK expenditure in order to qualify for any UK tax credit. This minimum UK spend threshold will be reduced from 25% to 10% from 1 April 2015, bringing the relief in line with the tax relief scheme for films. This reduction in the minimum UK spend threshold for the tax relief scheme for films has had the effect of encouraging minority co-productions and increasing the number of films being attracted to the UK to utilise its world-class post-production/VFX facilities and skills base.

Modernised Cultural Test for high-end television programmes: The government will modernise the Cultural Test under the tax relief scheme for high-end television programmes to align it with the Cultural Test under the tax relief scheme for films, which itself was modernised with effect from April 2014 to become a 35-point test (previously 31) with a pass mark of 18 (previously 16) to align itself with incentives in other member states and to support the post-production/VFX sector and wider film production.

New tax relief for orchestras: The government will provide tax relief to orchestras at a rate of 25% on qualifying expenditure from 1 April 2016. The government has consulted on the design of the relief and a summary of responses will be published shortly.

Skills Investment Fund: The government will provide £4 million to extend the existing Skills Investment Fund for a further two years, providing match funding for training and development in film, television, visual effects, video games and animation.

Video Games Prototype Fund: the government will commit £4 million over four years to a new Video Games Prototype Fund, aiding access to finance and business support and targeting games development talent.

Today’s announcement is more excellent news for the UK’s creative industries and further recognition by the Government of the continued growth of the UK creative industries in a global market and of the valuable contribution these sectors make to the economy.

For further information about what this means for you, please contact Charles Moore or Guy Sheppard.