He saw three areas where Government could particularly work with the industry – technology, skills and regulation. But Lord Sainsbury explained that he felt it was not worth spending time at the Summit discussing tax breaks for the games industry.
Almost all industries believed they could make a case for special treatment, but the Government’s function was to create exactly the right tax environment in the UK for all businesses.
Also tax breaks in the end tended to have little effect. Another Mr Woodward, John this time – chief executive officer of the Film Council would say that’s absolute rubbish if the findings of the recent report from the Film Council is to be believed.
Our cousins in the film industry are seeing huge benefits from the tax credits they receive. More Hollywood blockbusters are being shot or post produced in this country than ever before as a direct result.
We’ve been lucky enough to have worked on four this year and I wanted to take this opportunity to spread the good news from that side of the creative industry.
How does it work? The Government offers the film industry tax rebates of up to 20 per cent depending on the size of the movie budget.
This obviously means that to Hollywood executives, the UK is financially a very attractive place to make movies these days. It wasn’t always so; Pinewood and the London VFX scene was like a ghost town in the early nineties.
Whereas recently Casino Royale, Batman, Narnia, Harry Potter, Bourne Ultimatum et al were shot or post-produced in the UK.
You can’t make movies of this standard without a lot of talented people and a recent report by the UK Film Council states that the benefits of the tax breaks include attracting and retaining 35,000 skilled professionals who otherwise would go off to work elsewhere.
Furthermore the breaks have meant that the number of films made in the UK has increased by 75 per cent. An increased contribution of 1.3 billion to the GDP and the Chancellor of the Exchequer stands to gain 350m per year.
The bottom line for me is that this sort of Government support shouldn’t be seen as a crutch, a shoring up or some other sort of lifeline – the film industry is proving year on year that the tax breaks are irrefutably benefiting the economy.
We should put our backs into this, support the efforts of Tiga and make this happen.