U.K. TV Tax Relief Generates $384 million in First 9 Months

Film production spend in U.K. totaled more than $1.65 billion in 2013

Christian Bale Exodus

LONDON — The U.K.’s tax relief for high-end television delivered more than £233 million ($384 million) to the local economy in its first nine months, according to figures released by the British Film Institute Thursday.

The film tax relief continues to help attract international filmmakers to the U.K., with inward investment reaching £868 million ($1.43 billion), generated by 37 feature films, making up 81% of all feature film spend in the U.K., which totaled more than £1 billion ($1.65 billion) last year.

The influx of high-end television production is a direct result of the U.K.’s new tax relief. From a total of £233 million ($384 million), almost £150 million ($247 million) came from internationally financed productions — nine shows making up 64% of the total spend. The combined total from internationally financed film and television projects in the U.K. reached over £1 billion ($1.65 billion) in 2013.

Among the Hollywood productions set to shoot in the U.K. this year are Disney’s “Alice in Wonderland” sequel, “Through the Looking Glass,” starring Johnny Depp and Mia Wasikowska, Kiefer Sutherland starring in a new series of “24,” Chris Hemsworth and Scarlett Johansson starrer “The Avengers: Age of Ultron” and J.J. Abrams’ “Star Wars: Episode VII.”

Major film productions hosted by the U.K. last year included Sony Pictures and 20th Century Fox’s “The Monuments Men,” directed by and starring George Clooney, 20th Century Fox’s “Exodus,” directed by Ridley Scott and starring Christian Bale and Aaron Paul, Disney’s “Cinderella,” starring Cate Blanchett and Helena Bonham Carter, and Warner Bros.’ “Heart of the Sea,” directed by Ron Howard, alongside television dramas such as “Game of Thrones” in Northern Ireland, “Outlander” in Scotland, plus episodes of “Elementary” and “Veep” in South East England.

Adrian Wootton, chief exec of the British Film Commission and Film London, said: “As the statistics demonstrate, the film tax relief continues to prove itself to be a resounding success, as well as a cornerstone of growth in the U.K.’s wider creative industries.

Since the launch of the new tax reliefs in April, the BFC has been working to promote their benefits and our first-class production industries to the world. It is therefore hugely gratifying to see that paying off by welcoming so many high-end television productions in such a relatively short space of time.

“We thank the government for their ongoing commitment, seen again in recently announced changes to the tax relief, making the U.K. even more attractive and allowing us to maintain our competitive edge. We look forward to continuing to work with our industry partners to promote the existing and newly enhanced tax reliefs to further grow investment in the U.K.’s world-class creative industries.”