Labour Party Consultation: Diversity, Inclusion, and the Film and High-end TV Tax Reliefs
The Labour Digital, Culture, Media and Sport team is considering whether a Labour Government could shape the Film and High End TV Tax Reliefs to help to foster more diversity and inclusion both in front of and behind the camera.
The Film and High End TV Tax Reliefs are and have been instrumental in the development and success of the film and production industries in the UK. Labour wants to incentivise inclusion and equal representation standards for underrepresented groups on productions which receive the tax reliefs as part of Labour’s Treasury review of the system of tax reliefs.
This comes following growing concern from across the Film and TV industries about the lack of diversity and representation.
This consultation will take written submissions from all interested parties until the 2nd August 2019.
Facts about diversity in the Film and High-end TV industries:
As demonstrated by the British Film Institute and CAMEo’s report Workforce Diversity in the UK, data on the state of diversity and inclusion in the film and HETV sectors is not comprehensive.
Creative Skillset’s (now ScreenSkills) 2012 employment census, which the report identifies as the most dependable survey undertaken in recent years, shows that just 5.3% of the film production workforce, 3.4% of the film distribution workforce, and 4.5% of the film exhibition workforce were from Black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds in 2012.
It also showed that only 0.3% of the total film workforce are disabled (2% in production, 0.1% in exhibition and none in distribution), when 14% of people in employment aged 16-64 considered themselves disabled according to the Office of National Statistics.
Facts about the Film and High-end TV Tax reliefs:
A report published in October 2018 by the British Film Institute found that direct spend on production generated £1.72 billion from film production, 47% up from £1.17 billion in 2013, and £896.7 million from high-end television production, more than double from £414.9 million in 2013.
In 2016, an estimated £343.6 million of film tax relief was claimed against total expenditure in the UK of £1.72 billion. For High-end TV in the same year, an estimated £179.4 million of tax relief was claimed against the £896.7 million expenditure.
There are three statutory tests that films have to meet to qualify for film tax relief: the film must be intended for theatrical release; the film must be certified as British; and, not less than 10% of the core expenditure on the film must be UK expenditure.
The task of certifying films as British is delegated to the BFI Certification Unit which works on behalf of the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) who is the competent authority. The Manual comments:
The BFI’s guidance on this issue is here.
There are four basic tests that the production has to meet in order to qualify for the High End TV Tax Relief:
Further criteria can be found in HMRC’s summary of the relief.
For both the Film and the High-end TV tax reliefs, none of the requirements make any prescription as to the way that the production must meet certain standards of equal representation.