Committee launches British film and TV inquiry

10 February 2009

The House of Lords Communications Committee has announced an inquiry into UK-originated content in film and television

The inquiry will examine the contribution of the UK film and television industries to the British economy and how this might be increased. It will also examine the cultural contribution of the industry and how current arrangements support UK investment and jobs.

The Committee will look at the effectiveness of the tax credit system for the British film industry following changes made in 2006, and how the regulatory system has impacted on UK content in television.

In addition, the inquiry will cover the role and objectives of the UK Film Council, the Government’s strategic agency for film, and of the television industry regulator, the Office of Communications (Ofcom).

The Committee has issued a call for evidence launching the inquiry.

The Committee would, in particular, welcome evidence on the following questions:

  • What do the UK film and television industries currently contribute to the UK economy and British culture and how might this be enhanced?
  • How do the current UK arrangements for raising finance and distributing/ exhibiting films affect the commercial success of the UK film industry? How might changes in international film production and distribution affect the UK film industry?
  • Have the 2006 changes to the tax credit system been of benefit to the UK film industry? What effect has it had?
  • Is the UK Film Council meeting its objectives of giving support to production and export of British films and could it do more to assist the UK film industry’s contribution to the UK economy?
  • Is the current business environment in the UK offering the industries opportunities for the emergence of new talent or the acquisition of the managerial and technical skills required by the film and television industries?
  • How successful has the regulatory system been in supporting UK content in television?
  • What are the implications for television content creation of digital switchover and widespread broadband availability?
  • How will the structural changes facing the UK television industry, and particularly the public service broadcasting component, affect UK originated television content?

Lord Fowler, Chairman of the Committee, said:

"The film and television industries already make a very important contribution to the UK economy. But companies are under financial pressure both because of structural changes in the industries and the effects of the recession. We shall assess the prospects for film and television production in the UK and what might be done to improve them.

“We will look into the financing of the film industry, and in particular how the 2006 changes to the tax regime have affected it. We shall also look at incentives for UK originated content on television. The British television and film industries have already had very considerable success and employ a very substantial workforce. We want to examine whether there are ways to encourage these industries further."

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