LONDON — Producers in Blighty looking to raise private equity for pics got a welcome boost from the government on Wednesday when Chancellor George Osborne upped the annual amount that companies will be eligible to receive through the Enterprise Investment Scheme.
As Osborne unveiled the U.K. budget for 2011, he said that, beginning in April 2012, the annual amount available from the EIS would increase from £2 million ($3.2 million) to $16 million.
At the same time, the amount that an individual will be able to invest via an EIS program will increase from $812,000 to $1.6 million.
Beginning in April of this year, income tax relief that an individual can claim from EIS investments will be upped from 20% to 30% — a much more attractive proposition to private investors.
Prescience Film Finance topper Paul Brett, whose company backed “The King’s Speech,” said the changes will tempt more private investors to put coin into pics.
“Prescience will be looking to make the maximum use of this tremendous endorsement to British film,” he said.
Prescience pics that have benefited from EIS in the past include Irish laffer “The Guard,” which was picked up by Sony Classics at Sundance in January, and Felicity Jones starrer “Chalet Girl,” 10% of whose budget was covered by EIS.
The chancellor’s budget also revealed that the current film tax break would have to be resubmitted to the EU State Aid committee as Blighty’s tax laws have changed.
Since shuttering the U.K. Film Council in July, the government has continued to emphasize its commitment to film tax breaks.
In addition, the government unveiled in a nationwide Plan for Growth document that it was launching a Creative Industries Board to promote investment and examine issues including intellectual property, infrastructure, export markets and regulation. Members of the board will include reps from Warner Bros., BBC and BSkyB.