A new children’s TV tax relief will be introduced from April 2015, George Osbourne announced in the Autumn Statement to Parliament last week. The announcement follows on from the success of the film, high end TV, animation, video games and theatre tax reliefs.
It is hoped that this will help counteract a decline in investment in children’s TV, with eligible companies able to claim 25 per cent of qualifying production spending back through the relief. According to a report by the Producers’ Alliance for Cinema and TV (Pact): ‘Driven by (well-intended) regulatory changes, investment in original British children’s TV amongst the commercial public service broadcasters (PSBs) fell by 97 per cent over the last decade, from £65 million in 2002 to £2 million in 2011.5.’ Pact believes that the new tax credit would encourage inward investment from global broadcasters, help create a competitive domestic production market and help create more home-grown content for domestic and global audiences.
John McVay, chief executive of Pact cites shows such as Teletubbies (to be remade by Darrall Macqueen), In the Night Garden and format based shows like Mr Maker as having seen great success around the world. In the Pact report, The economic case for a children’s TV tax credit, McVay continued: ‘However, successes like these are infrequent and children’s producers are feeling the pressure of struggling to fully finance shows.’
Sue Taylor, relationship director, Barclays’ technology, media and telecoms team, commented: “The Chancellor’s announcement this afternoon is welcome news to the TV industry which has been calling for this decision for some time.” Barclays works with the top five broadcasters and 45 per cent of the top 40 independent TV companies in the UK.
Taylor continued, “There have been a number of great successes in children’s TV produced in the UK over the last few years, including Mister Maker and Horrible Histories, but these successes are few and far between compared to ten years ago. Over the last decade, budgets have shrunk and as a result 90 per cent of children’s TV is now repeats, with content dominated by US imports, according to Pact. The introduction of tax credits will help restore the children’s TV sector in the UK and provide vital support for production companies to shoot here rather than abroad, putting Britain back on the map as a cost-effective destination for production.”