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Booming high-end TV production delivers record levy contributions

Creative Skillset has revealed that last year saw a record £2.6 million paid in to the High-end TV Levy Fund

Creative Skillset has revealed that last year’s booming production schedule in TV drama saw a record £2.6 million paid in contributions to the High-end TV Levy Fund.

More than 100 high-end productions including Game of Thrones, Poldark, Luther, Derry Girls, The Durrells, Black Mirror, Shetland, Call the Midwife and Peaky Blinders, made the payments into the High-end Levy TV Fund.

The fund supports skills and training courses including Trainee Finder, the entry-level TV drama placement programme, and Make a Move, which offers on-the-job training for crew identified by productions as ready to move into a more senior role. More than 1,000 people are believed to have benefited from levy-supported training last year.

“The continuing success of British and International production companies in producing compelling drama in the UK means that the work investing in next generation talent and crew, funded through the levy, is ever more important,” said Kaye Elliott, Creative Skillset’s director of high-end TV. “There is an ongoing challenge in making sure the UK can continue to offer a highly-skilled workforce to home-grown and international productions. It is our job is to work with industry to champion the importance of continued investment in skills, to ensure we can meet the demand for today and the future.”

Alison Barnett, head of production at Kudos, added: “Although drama budgets are still challenging, it is incredibly important for everyone to pay into the High-end TV Levy. We’ve had people on training schemes at all levels and they have been a huge success. As an industry, we have skills shortages in every single department and in some cases people are moving up too quickly, and they’re not having proper training; so what is particularly important is the upskilling Creative Skillset offers, which is fantastic.”

Kudos paid the levy on productions this year including Troy: Fall of a City, Gunpowder, Tin Star, Humans and The Tunnel: Vengeance (pictured, above) where the company partnered with Sky and Creative Skillset on offering training to six BAME new recruits on location in Deal, Kent. 

The Fund is managed by Creative Skillset under the governance of the High-end TV Council and industry-led working groups. It was established to support the skills of the next generation of high-end TV talent as part of the consultation with the Government on high-end television tax relief, with agreement that all productions intending to take advantage of the tax credit would contribute.

More than £9 million has been collected by the High-end TV Levy in the five years since it was introduced. The figure collected in the first year, 2013-2014, was £764,477, rising to £2,447,725 in 2016-2017 and then £2,641,350 from 105 productions in 2017-2018.

The figures for the Skills Investment Fund commonly known as the film levy will also be released shortly.