We are now half way through the London Film Festival. There are over 2500 films showing; from big budget movies -‘Last Flag Flying’ (which I really enjoyed), to micro films – ‘The Hungry’ – a film produced by one of our clients and for which we are claiming UK Film Tax Credits.
Last month in Venice Theresa May (and I really did feel sorry for her during her recent Tory party annual conference speech) named the creative sector as one of the five key industrial growth strategies for the UK. In 2010 Vince Cable named nine key industrial sectors for the UK; the creative sector was not one of them.
According to the latest published statistics in 2015, the screen sector directly employs 186,000 people and 178,000 people indirectly. Overall, taking into account production personnel the sector employs 2m. The UK creative sector workforce is growing four times faster than the wider UK workforce.
The screen sector recorded a productivity average of 3.4% for the years 2000 to 2014. So does an average of 3.4% sound good? Not really perhaps, but now consider it in the context of the overall national productivity average of 1.1%.
It should also be noted that people employed in the screen sector earn more than average workers. This is because they are highly skilled people usually with a vast amount of experience. One of the key reasons for the growth in the sector is down to the people.
According to the BFI total spending in 2014 was £1.47bn. While in office as Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, Sajid Javid described the screen sector as a ‘powerhouse of growth.’
This growth has been partly fuelled by generous Government initiatives mainly in the form of film tax credits. A qualifying British film with eligible expenditure is entitled to receive up to 20% of money spent. And – this comes in the form of a cash refund to the production. Last year the Government paid out £600m in tax relief for film and TV productions that passed the cultural test.
It all adds up to a great story…. maybe one written in Hollywood.