Stars Wars spin-off to shoot in UK
George Osborne posed with some of the cast and crew of the new Star Wars film as he hailed the news that another spin-off of the blockbuster series will be shot in Britain.
The Chancellor confirmed Pinewood Studios will be used to create another instalment of the famous franchise as he toured the set of Episode VII.
He posed with director JJ Abrams, Lucasfilm president Kathy Kennedy and robotic star R2D2 and jokingly adapted one of his favourite economic slogans on Twitter, writing: "A #LongTermEconomicPlan in a galaxy far far away."
The picture did not impress everyone with one Twitter user writing: "Wow. C3PO has really let himself go...", while another said: "This is not the chancellor we were looking for."
Mr Osborne - whose favourite Star Wars character is apparently Han Solo - highlighted the tax relief of up to 25 per cent offered by the coalition on film investment.
"Lucasfilm and Disney's decision to shoot the Star Wars standalone movie in the UK is testament to the incredible talent in Britain," he said.
"This will mean more jobs and more investment. It is great news for people working at Pinewood Studios, from the set designers to the carpenters.
"As Chancellor I have been determined that we back our brilliant creative industries, which is why we have invested in skills and training as well as providing tax relief for films, high-end TV, animation, video games and regional theatre.
"The further changes the Government made to the film tax relief at Budget 2014 will support our highly skilled, innovative, creative sectors so that they continue to thrive and encourage more films to be made in the UK."
Filming of Star Wars: Episode VII is taking place at Pinewood now and the new standalone movie made by a British pair, director Gareth Edwards and writer Gary Whitta, will start shooting next year.
Edwards, who grew up in Nuneaton, started out working in visual effects for the BBC and spent his savings making the film Monsters - about huge, extra-terrestrial creatures who attack Earth - on a shoestring budget in his London flat.
It made his name and saw him invited to Hollywood to direct Godzilla.
London-born Whitta, a former computer games journalist who edited PC Gamer, wrote the 2010 Denzil Washington film The Book Of Eli.
Culture Secretary Sajid Javid, who also toured the set yesterday, said: "This is great news for the UK and is further proof of the world-leading position of the UK film industry.
"We have studios, tax incentives and talent, both in front of and behind the camera, which are amongst the very best in the world.
"Given Lucasfilm's decision to film another Star Wars movie in the UK, it is clear that the Force is strong here."