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Osborne tax breaks ‘will keep TV productions in Northern Ireland’

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Chancellor George Osborne

Chancellor George Osborne

Chancellor George Osborne

New tax break will help safeguard Northern Ireland’s reputation for box office TV locations.

It is hoped that the reliefs, unveiled by Chancellor George Osborne yesterday, will ensure smash hits like Game of Thrones, which has help bring millions of pounds into Northern Ireland’s economy, will not be lost to overseas competitors. The Treasury said it would lead to a major boost for the burgeoning creative industry, which accounts for 31,000 jobs in Northern Ireland.

Industry bosses have been calling for an extension of the tax breaks currently given to films, which are worth £200m a year. The Government is planning to offer the relief to high-level television series, like Downton Abbey and Game of Thrones, as well as animations and computer games.

A consultation was launched yesterday and will run until September.

There has been a recent exodus of drama-making from the UK, which has seen TV productions such as Julian Fellowes' drama Titanic shot overseas.

A Treasury spokesman said: “These reliefs, set to be among the most generous anywhere in the world, can only help to generate more investment and jobs.”

North Belfast MP Nigel Dodds said the creative industry was “one of the big issues that could drive us forward”

Belfast Telegraph