Morris: Incentives essential to survival of Brit filmmaking

LONDON — Estelle Morris, the U.K.’s recently appointed arts minister, has thrown her weight behind the film industry’s campaign to renew production tax breaks.

Morris told the Independent paper that she believed incentives were essential to safeguard the survival of British filmmaking.

Her statement echoes the conclusions of the recent House of Commons Select Committee probe into the state of the industry.

“The evidence is that the tax credit has done what it was meant to do,” she said. “It was a sound investment, and it has proved its worth.”

The so-called Section 48 tax relief was created in 1997 and is due to expire in 2005. Film reps are in discussion with the Treasury, the government department that sets fiscal policy, about its possible renewal.

Under Section 48 U.K. films with a budget under £15 million ($25 million) can write off 100% of costs on completion. This tax break allows filmmakers to recover up to 15% of their budgets.

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