This week, the UK government announced that it plans to offer tax credits to high end television productions, video games and animation.
After a successful campaign by industry stakeholders, the government has acknowledged that it needs to do something to keep the UK competitive with other jurisdictions, particularly in the area of television production which has not been eligible for any incentives – unlike film. The film tax credit is generally acknowledged as being a success, and the hope is that this can be replicated in the areas of TV, video gaming and animation.
In the television sector, there was concern expressed by industry players that the lack of an incentive in the UK would mean the loss of productions to neighboring countries that did offer something.
The UK government is planning to enter into industry consultations to determine how these proposed incentives will work, and it could be 10-12 months before legislation appears.
This announcement is also good news for international partners who wish to co-produce television productions with the UK, particularly Canadians who have a long history co-producing with their British colleagues. However, since the elimination of the sale-leaseback structures for television in 2002, the level of Canada-UK television productions has dropped, with the UK slack being taken up by other countries such as Ireland.
This announcement does provide a glimmer of hope that the future of Canada-UK co-productions may be different than the recent past, and that would be a good thing.