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U.K. extends film tax credit

Rebates to continue to end of 2015

Blighty’s government is extending the country’s 25% film tax credit until the end of 2015.

The news came as a welcome announcement from Prime Minister David Cameron, signalling that Hollywood and international projects would continue to reap the benefits of the crucial support that has attracted studio pics such as the “Harry Potter” and James Bond franchises to the country.

Cameron said the tax relief would “guarantee millions of pounds of support for the British film industry.

“The last year has seen massive success, both at home and abroad, for a whole host of U.K. films. I look forward to seeing the U.K. film industry continue to thrive over the coming years, supported by the government’s film tax relief.”

Blighty’s film tax relief scheme promotes production of culturally British films and in 2009/10 provided around £95 million ($151 million) of support to 208 films that generated $1.8 billion of inward investment into the country.

Productions with a budget of £20 million ($32 million) or less can apply for a 25% tax rebate while pics with a budget higher than that can claim a 20% rebate.

Recent productions certified as British under the cultural test include “Brighton Rock,” “Attack the Block,” “Streetdance 3D,” “Gnomeo & Juliet,” “Clash of the Titans” and the “Harry Potter” franchise.

“The huge success of British films at the Oscars, the Golden Globes and the BAFTAs this year is clear recognition of our world-class talent and creativity,” said film minister Ed Vaizey. “But as a vital creative industry, it also has huge potential for economic growth.”

In a statement, Josh Berger, president and managing director, Warner Bros. U.K., said: “For almost 90 years, Warner Bros. has been investing in U.K. film production and the U.K. film industry’s outstanding creative talent. In the last year alone, we’ve produced six major feature films here, released the final film in the U.K.-produced ‘Harry Potter’ movie series, and committed £100 million to create our permanent production home, Warner Bros. Studios Leavesden, which will open in summer 2012. We welcome the government’s expression of support for the U.K. film industry through its renewal of the film tax credit.”

Pinewood Shepperton chairman Michael Grade remarked that the extension and security of the tax credit “will deliver certainty for the U.K.’s talented filmmakers, and will provide the platform for growth, investment and jobs in a growing segment of the economy.”

Matthew Justice, topper at Brit shingle Big Talk Prods. and a BFI governor, told Variety that the government had demonstrated “a fantastic show of faith in the British film industry” by extending the tax relief.

“Let’s hope that we can all deliver on the ambition to continue to grow the British film industry in the coming years and build on what has been a vintage year for British film,” he said.

Cameron also said that he was delighted that the BFI is setting up a $319,000 Lottery-backed film export fund to promote Brit pics internationally and help sales.

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