The British Film and Television Industries - Communications Committee Contents


CHAPTER 6: Summary of recommendations

335.  We recommend that, given current financial circumstances and the value to the international film industry of a stable tax regime, the Government should keep the rate of the tax credit for big budget films at its current level. At the same time, we recommend that the rate of the tax credit be kept under review by the Government, in consultation with the industry, in order to ensure that the UK does not become uncompetitive as a venue for international filmmaking. (para 73)

336.  Given the problems faced by independent film makers in raising finance for their projects, particularly in the current recession, we recommend that the Government should consider raising the net rate of film tax relief for productions under £5m to 30 per cent. (para 78)

337.  We acknowledge that there would be a benefit to producers from a change to the "used or consumed" provisions, to extend the tax credit to production expenditure overseas, and the low cost of this change. We recommend that the salaries of personnel employed on a film should be considered eligible costs whether they are working in the UK or on location overseas so long as the personnel are paid and taxed in the UK. (para 83)

338.  We recognise the claims of the videogames industry for support in the face of foreign government-subsidised competition, and recommend that the Government consider providing tax incentives for videogames production. (para 88)

339.  Given the difficulties of financing independent British films, particularly following the withdrawal of banks from film financing, we recommend that the Government should look at ways of facilitating greater British private investment in film production. This would need to be done in a way that ensured that the private investment was genuine and not simply a means of tax avoidance. (para 93)

340.  We question, however, whether an industry body like the UK Film Council should be substantially financed by the Lottery rather than direct Government support. We regret the reduction in funding made because of the demands of the 2012 Olympic Games. We recommend that the funding level should be restored immediately after 2012/13. (para 103)

341.  We do not consider that the small saving, which a merger of the UK Film Council and the BFI would be likely to achieve, would by itself justify an amalgamation. (para 107)

342.  If, however, the proposal for the merger of the UK Film Council and the BFI goes ahead, it will be important that any organisational changes neither prejudice nor deter private donations to the BFI's educational and archival work. (para 108)

343.  We welcome the UK Film Council's emphasis in its consultation document on supporting British films and filmmakers as its first core activity, and its proposal to use funds recouped from its investment in film to top up the Film Production Fund's budget. (para 110)

344.  We support the UK Film Council's continuing commitment, as part of its first core activity, to the promotion of the UK as an inward investment destination for film production. In this context, we strongly support the proposal to strengthen the Office of the British Film Commissioner. (para 111)

345.  We welcome the provisions in the Digital Economy Bill, which would bring film production within the public service remit of Channel 4. We encourage the BBC to give greater recognition to the role that BBC Films can play in developing new projects and new talent in the British independent film sector. (para 117)

346.  We urge the Government, the UK Film Council and the organisations representing the exhibition sector to find a way of completing the digital equipping of cinemas in the UK which, as necessary, provides help to smaller independent cinemas to purchase or lease digital equipment. (para 123)

347.  Irrespective of the outcome of the test case on camcording of films in cinemas, we remain concerned that the law is unclear and provides insufficient deterrent to abuse. We recommend that the Government reconsider the case for specific legislation to make it a criminal offence to record a film in a cinema by camcorder. (para 129)

348.  Given the strength of film industry concern about the threat from audiovisual piracy, as reflected in the evidence we received, the Committee supports the Government's decision to introduce regulatory measures to combat unlawful peer-to-peer file sharing. (para 132)

349.  We welcome the decision of some companies in the audiovisual industries to change their business models in order to meet the legitimate demands of their customers while generating a return on their investment in content, and encourage other companies to do the same. (para 136)

350.  We support the Government's intention to sell a part of BBC Worldwide, creating a public private company. We believe that such a company, with a continuing link to the BBC, would be capable of becoming a major global brand for distributing UK content, producing additional profits, employment and opportunities for British production companies. (para 220)

351.  We recommend the extension of the film tax credit, on a pilot basis, to children's programmes and animation productions made for television. This pilot, if successful, might be extended to other genres. (para 226)

352.  We welcome the provisions in the Digital Economy Bill on support for independently funded news consortia to provide regional and local services. (para 229)

353.  Given the continuing decline in funding for UK content provision, we recommend that the Government should consider use of the proceeds of the sale of spectrum and a part of the BBC licence fee. (para 239)

354.  Given the current financial constraints on the commercially-funded PSBs, we do not think it is realistic to introduce quotas on specific genres of television programming. (para 248)

355.  We recommend that Ofcom should work more closely with cable and satellite channels based in the UK, to explore ways of ensuring that the aim of the rule on European content, as set out in the EU Audiovisual Media Services Directive, is met. (para 253)

356.  Although we do not favour the introduction of industry fees in the current economic climate, we believe that the Government should ask Ofcom to assess research already done on possible use of fees in the UK, and commission them to conduct further research to reach firm conclusions on the likely costs and benefits of such fees. This would provide a firm basis on which Parliament might make any future decisions. (para 268)

357.  We welcome the positive impact that the Terms of Trade have had on the growth of the independent production sector, and the benefits this has had on the sector's contribution to UK content. We support the Government's proposal to review the Terms of Trade, in the light of changes in the independent production sector and the impact they can have on the commercial PSBs. (para 273)

358.  There is a serious risk that the UK will lose out by the decision to block Project Kangaroo and we strongly regret the Government's failure to intervene in the Competition Commission's investigation. We urge that, if other similar UK-based video on demand projects are proposed, the Government will ensure that the implications for the British television industry are properly taken into account. (para 280)

359.  We recommend that the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills should encourage the Higher Education Funding Council to deploy some of its funding to support high-level, post-graduate training in the post-production and animation sectors. (para 295)

360.  We support Skillset's efforts to promote dialogue between the education and training providers and the film, television and videogames industries. We recommend that the Higher Education and Funding Council should encourage closer relationships between universities and the creative industries, including the introduction of sandwich courses for media studies degrees enabling students to spend part or all of the penultimate year of their degree working in the industry. (para 300)

361.  We welcome the work that Skillset is doing on codes of conduct for internships, and encourage them to play a greater role in the coordination of apprenticeships and other on-the-job training. (para 312)

362.  We urge the film and television industries to provide more equal access to training and skills-based career development through greater use of apprenticeships and graduate internships. (para 313)

363.  In the light of the variability of training across the sector, we welcome the continuing role played by the BBC and the BBC's willingness to make its training more widely available through the launch of the BBC Academy. (para 317)

364.  We understand the current pressures on the budgets of UK commercial public service broadcasters but believe that the reduction in training budgets threatens the future competitiveness of the UK television industry. We urge the Government to encourage PSBs to revive their investment in training. (para 328)

365.  We regret that, because of budgetary constraints, the UK Film Council should be forced to reduce significantly its funding for training for the next three years, at a time when training should be a priority. We urge the Government to ensure that the UK Film Council is adequately funded to allow it at least to restore its former level of support for training. (para 330)

366.  We welcome Ofcom's proposals to develop co-operation within the regulatory framework for training in the television industry and recommend that Ofcom should publish guidance to clarify the roles of the organisations involved. (para 334)


 
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