Enhancements to the U.K.’s Film Tax Relief, which were announced earlier this year, have been approved by the European Union, which allows them to pass into law. The changes mean that all British movies can receive a rebate of 25%.
Following the changes, British films of all budget levels can apply for the 25% tax break. Previously, only the first £20 million ($31.4 million) on big-budget films would qualify for the higher rate, with the remaining expenditure earning 20%. The new rate will apply to all features in production on or after April 1, 2015.
Adrian Wootton, chief executive of the British Film Commission and Film London, said: “This is great news for the film industry and for the wider U.K. economy. Much has been written about the benefits of global filming incentives, and the U.K. Film Tax Relief is exceptional in combining a generous financial incentive with transparency, inclusivity and reliability. When you couple this with the U.K.’s world-class talent, cutting-edge infrastructure and stunning locations you have a truly unbeatable offer, and one that creates thousands of U.K. jobs and generates billions for the country’s economy.”
Major feature films shooting in the U.K. at present include Disney’s live-action version of “Beauty and the Beast,” Lucasfilm’s “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” and Warner Bros.’ Harry Potter spin-off “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.”
The improvements to the tax break were first revealed by George Osborne, the minister in charge of U.K. finance policy, in March.
During a visit to the set of TV series “Agatha Raisin,” which is benefiting from the U.K.’s high-end TV tax relief, Osborne said: “British made films are watched and celebrated all over the world — last year alone we saw eight British-made films nominated for an Oscar. A key part of our long-term economic plan is supporting our creative industries that contribute billions to the economy and provide millions of jobs. We want to see more films like ‘Gravity’ and ‘Avengers: Age of Ultron’ made in Britain, and that’s why we’ve made our film tax relief even more generous.”
According to British Film Institute figures, 222 movies started principal photography in the U.K. last year, spending £1.4 billion ($2.2 billion) — an increase from £1.1 billion ($1.73 billion) in 2013 and the highest figure on record.