UK Government gives additional boost to UK creative industries

In today’s Autumn Statement, 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.

New tax relief for children’s television: The Government announced that a new tax relief scheme for the production of children’s television programmes will be introduced from April 2015. The relief will be available at a rate of 25% on qualifying expenditure.

Reduction in the level of UK expenditure for high-end television tax relief: Under the current tax relief scheme for high-end television programmes, at least 25% of total qualifying expenditure must be UK expenditure in order to qualify for any UK tax credit. The Government has announced that it intends to explore with the industry whether to reduce this minimum UK spend threshold from 25% to 10% to bring the relief in line with the tax relief scheme for films, where the minimum UK spend threshold was similarly reduced from 25% to 10% with effect from April of this year. 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 also intends to explore with the industry whether the Cultural Test under the tax relief scheme for high-end television programmes should be modernised to align it with the Cultural Test under the tax relief scheme for films, which itself was modernised with effect from April of this year 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.

Consultation on the introduction of a new tax relief for orchestras: The Government will launch a formal consultation in early 2015 about introducing a new tax relief for orchestras from April 2016, in recognition of their cultural value and artistic importance.

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.