More help for filming in the UK


Changes to encourage more investment in UK filming have been agreed.

The cultural test which determines whether a film can qualify as a British production will be eased under the new legislation.

Previously, films had to score at least 16 out of a possible 31 points in criteria such as whether lead actors, director or crews were British.

Changes will now include expanding criteria to include other European Union states. Under the new scheme, an actor can be from any country so long as their dialogue is in English - meaning the production would score points in the language criteria.

The cultural test, which was introduced in 2007, is used to allow production companies to apply for UK film tax relief and is administered by the British Film Institute (BFI) on behalf of the Department of Culture, Media and Sport.

The new test will require productions to score at least 18 points out of 35 and will include an increase in the points available for principal photography and using British visual and special effects companies.

Anna Mansi, the BFI's head of certification, said: "This puts us on a level playing field with our creative content tests and other European culture tests," she told the BBC.

"The increase in visual effects points will also be very beneficial to the effects industry."

The changes were announced as part of the chancellor's Autumn Statement.

UK Chancellor George Osborne also announced tax relief would be increased from 20% to 25% on the first £20m of qualifying production expenditure.

Productions will also only have to spend 10% of their budgets on UK expenditure to qualify - down from 25% - to help more independent production companies and make the UK a more attractive co-production partner.

Mr Osborne will also announced a £5m investment in the National Film and Television School's Digital Village, to create a training centre for the UK's digital and creative industries.

The tax changes announced will be introduced from April 2014, subject to state aid approval, and legislated in Finance Bill 2014.

British Film Commission CEO Adrian Wootton said: “The tax relief was a game changer when introduced in 2007 and today’s announcement ensures we can continue to grow our industry, boosting the UK economy and creating British jobs; it will also encourage the production of more culturally British projects,” added.

Pinewood Studios chief executive Ivan Dunleavy said: “The government continues to demonstrate its clear, consistent and ongoing support for this important industry and these new measures will build on the current successful system of film fiscal incentives which create real value for the UK.”