The UK government has opened consultations on a bill extending tax breaks to TV programmes and games produced in the UK. The new bill, which could become law in spring 2013, will allow production companies to be eligible for a tax break of up to 25 per cent of any production money spent in the UK. The scheme will apply to fiction and documentaries costing not less than £1 million per hour and for productions which are at least 51 per cent animated. As will the exisiting film tax break regime, productions will have to be certified as UK content and must be 'intended for broadcast'. In addition, the entity claiming reflief must be actively involved at all stages of the production process, from development to distribution.
The scheme should allow broadcasters as well as indpendent producers to film high budget projects in the UK rather than using cheaper overseas locations. Examples of recent programmes which could be repatriated include the miniseries Titanic (for ITV) and the BBC's Birdsong, both filmed in Hungary. More overseas productions could - subject to passing the UK test - be filmed in the UK. HBO's Game of Thrones is being made in Northern Ireland. Meanwhile, an increasing number of animation productions have migrated outside the UK as produced take advantage of lower labour costs and the availability of generous funding schemes.