The Chancellor, George Osborne, acknowledged the importance of the UK creative industries yesterday at an event organised by the British Film Commission in association with the BFI, UKIE and Animation UK to officially launch the tax reliefs for high-end television, animation and video games.
He stated that the creative sector generates £36 billion a year to the British economy and employs over 1.5 million people, adding that it is one of the most important sectors we have for export and growth. The new tax reliefs will help Britain capitalise on this success, ensure we remain competitive internationally and encourage investment in skills and jobs. The Chancellor then called on the audience to spread the word around the globe that Britain is the place to come to make films, high-end TV drama, animated content and video games.
Following the Chancellor on stage, Ed Vaizey, the Minister for Culture, Communications and Creative Industries, added that businesses need to make sure they have the right skills to innovate and compete, making reference to the Government’s pledge for match funding industry contributions to supporting skills development and a £15 million initiative to support bids from consortia for digital content production.
Amanda Nevill, Chief Executive of the BFI, thanked the Chancellor and highlighted the importance of ‘R&D’ in the sector and pointed out that ongoing investment in young people, new talent and skills makes economic sense and needs to be protected.
In her speech Amanda said:
It’s striking that an industry such as ours can employ such a vast array of skills and at the same time, with film alone and not including games or high-end TV, put £4.6 billion into the nation’s purse. Our Chancellor knows a good deal when he sees one…and this is it…which is why we have the extension of tax reliefs to new sectors of the creative industries. Here is my pledge to you chancellor, all of us [in these industries] are hell-bent on making the tax reliefs work, and I think all of us here have at least double the potential in us.
The great thing about our industries is that they are constantly reinventing themselves – from silent to talkies, black and white to colour, television, video games, DVD, animation, 3D and whatever comes next.
We are the industries of the future which is why constant investment in R&D is so important. In order to wring out every last drop of potential growth from these tax breaks we need to keep investing in this reinvention with R&D.
We have to incubate our talent, our young, create space for them to have the courage to try new things and take risks and we have to capitalise on one of the reasons why we stand out on the global stage, our global advantage – our great cultural heritage. It’s in our DNA, from Shakespeare to Hitchcock, from Stratford on Avon to the Stratford where Danny Boyle’s Olympic imagination transfixed the world. That’s the magic spark that fires up our industries and allows the trades and skills immemorial to combine with cutting edge technologies of today to create the industries which are our future.
All of the public agencies in this room are responsible for this R&D. From the BFI, fresh on the back of its first film academy which in collaboration with BAFTA and Pinewood is picking out the talent of the future from across the UK, also celebrating four films from upcoming filmmakers selected for Cannes and just about to announce this week its Vision Awards supporting upcoming production companies across the UK, to the British Film Commission whose event this is today and who plays an absolutely vital role in developing overseas markets for inward investment, working alongside Creative England to give vital support making it really easy for productions coming into our country. Then there is Creative Skillset working closely with the industries to ensure the skills we need for growth are identified, nurtured and coming through.
This future investment in our prosperity, doesn’t necessarily need bags of more money to flourish, but it does need to be protected right now – simply because it makes common economic sense to do so.