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Cutting tax breaks will hit booming UK film industry, says report

Film brought in billions of pounds to the UK economy last year, but a cut to tax breaks could see growth collapse, according to a report from Oxford Economics.

The research group revealed the film sector contributed £4.6bn to the UK's gross domestic product in 2009. The news came in a 108-page report into the economic impact of the UK film industry, which had been commissioned by groups including the UK Film Council and the studio Pinewood Shepperton.

The report explored the industry's impact on issues from employment to merchandising and box-office receipts, and even its effect on tourism. It concluded that the UK film industry had weathered the recession well "and is strongly placed to continue its recent growth and expansion".

Tim Bevan, the chairman of the UK Film Council, said the industry was "firing on all cylinders, and is well-placed to play an increasingly valuable role helping the UK economy grow in the years ahead".

There are 36,000 employed in the country's core film industry. This includes staff of production companies, and those that distribute and show UK-made films.

Oxford Economics stressed that the health of the film sector in the UK depended on keeping the tax breaks in place.

The relief, as well as the depreciation of the pound, are crucial factors to UK films, costing on average 40% less than the US and 7% less than the Czech Republic in 2010, the report said.

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