U.K. Eyes Extension of Production Incentives to Kids’ TV Shows

LONDON — The U.K. government is considering an extension of its existing production tax credits for film, animation and high-end TV to include children’s live-action programming.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne, who is in charge of government economic policy, told delegates at the launch of the Creative Industries Federation, a body that represents those working in the arts, culture and entertainment: “I am looking very seriously to see if I can look to expand tax credits to children’s television,” the Financial Times reported Tuesday.

Osborne reiterated his support for the creative sector at the London event.

“It’s not the pounds and pence you deliver. What you do is express who we are as a society, as a community, and you give voice to the people within those communities… all of this is an expression of who we are as human beings,” he said. “It is a human endeavor in its own right.”

Next week, Osborne delivers to the U.K. Parliament his Autumn Statement, which updates the country’s lawmakers on the government’s economic policy. It is an opportunity for the government to reveal changes to financial incentives, as Osborne did last year with improvements to the film tax credit.

The U.K. tax credit already applies to bigger-budget scripted television shows, and amounts to a 25% saving on 80% of the budget. It is restricted to programs of more than 30 minutes in length, and with budgets exceeding £1 million ($1.57 million) for each broadcast hour.

There is a separate tax credit for animation intended for broadcast, which again amounts to a 25% saving on 80% of the U.K. spend. There are no restrictions on budget size or program length.

Adrian Wootton, chief executive of the British Film Commission and Film London, said: “Adding children’s television to the U.K.’s existing creative sector tax reliefs would be another formidable string to the U.K.’s bow.

“The country has already seen significant benefits thanks to the film, high-end television and animation reliefs, with our production industries not only attracting major international projects but also ensuring domestic producers can make their projects in the U.K.

“Extending the reliefs to include children’s programming would be a logical step, and we support (producers’ body) PACT’s call for measures that could ultimately help boost international co-productions and increase our own television exports.”

The Creative Industries Federation is headed by John Kampfner, and its board includes Tony Hall, director general of the BBC, and Tessa Ross, chief executive of the National Theatre and former chief of Film Four, the movie production arm of Channel 4. The board is chaired by designer John Sorrell.

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