Check Out Our New Look

Hollywood Lobbying UK Government Over Gaming Tax Breaks

By | Tuesday February 22, 2011 @ 11:49am PST

Warner Bros and Sony have both been working behind the scenes to get the UK government to introduce a £39 million ($63 million) annual tax break for the gaming industry. Chancellor George Osborne is considering introducing a computer games tax break in his next Budget on March 23. This would mark a U-turn for Osborne who last summer scrapped planned tax relief for the sector after the Conservatives took power. This time around he wants some good news in his Budget after months of the government just offering cuts and layoffs in the state sector. The hope is that a computer games tax break will encourage U.S. companies to come here just as the film tax break keeps Pinewood Shepperton busy with Hollywood blockbusters.

Batman: Arkham Asylum and Lego Harry Potter were both developed out of the UK by Warner Bros. Games sector lobbyist TIGA tells me that the UK computer games industry has shrunk by 9% over the past year, employing 900 fewer people. By contrast, the Canadian games sector – which does enjoy government help – has grown by 33% over the same period. Games developers are pushing for three levels of tax credit, ranging from 20-30% depending on how much a game costs to develop. Given that the average cost of developing a UK computer game is £570,000, most games would qualify for a 30% tax break. Black Ops, the smash hit US shoot ‘em up, cost around … Read More »

Comments (0)

2011 BAFTA Winners: ‘The King’s Speech’ Sweeps 7 Awards Including Best Film; David Fincher, Colin Firth, Natalie Portman, Geoffrey Rush, Helena Bonham Carter

Tonight Oscar favorite Colin Firth won a second consecutive Lead Actor BAFTA (the British Oscars) at this year’s awards ceremony held at the Royal Opera House in London. He won the British Academy of Film and Television Arts prize for his role in A Single Man last year and this time was honoured for playing George VI in The King’s Speech. The late Rod Steiger was the last star to win the best actor BAFTA two years’ running (for The Pawnbroker in 1967 and In The Heat Of The Night in 1968). The King’s Speech nearly swept with 7 awards (it had 14 nominations in all). The Social Network won 3 awards including Best Director for David Fincher. Black Swan won one award for Natalie Portman in Lead Actress. Inception won 3 awards, Alice In Wonderland capured 2 awards, and both True Grit and Toy Story 3 took 1 each. The Orange Wednesdays Rising Star award, voted by the public, went to actor Tom Hardy. Jonathan Ross hosted this year’s ceremony. Sir Christopher Lee was honoured with the British Academy’s prestigious Fellowship while the Harry Potter films was given BAFTA’s Outstanding British Contribution To Cinema:

2011 BAFTA WINNERS (keep refreshing for updates)

BEST FILM

THE KING’S SPEECH – Iain Canning, Emile Sherman, Gareth Unwin

LEADING ACTOR

COLIN FIRTH – The King’s Speech

LEADING ACTRESS

NATALIE PORTMAN – Black Swan

DIRECTOR

THE SOCIAL NETWORK – David Fincher… Read More »

Comments 46

UK Film Council Faces Even Deeper Cuts

By | Wednesday June 23, 2010 @ 8:34am PDT

ukfilm-logoThe culture department, which funds British film to the tune of £26 million each year, is preparing for savage cuts. The Department For Culture, Media and Sport faces having its budget slashed by 25% – or even higher – over the next four years. Earlier this month, UKFC told me it was drawing up plans for what 20% cuts in grant-in-aid expenditure might look like over three years. Now that looks optimistic.

Final government department budgets will be set in the October 20 spending review.

Chancellor George Osborne said department spending will be cut by £17 billion more than expected by 2014-14 because, he said, “the structural deficit is worse than we were told”. It’s the classic skeletons-in-the-cupboard tactic used when one politician takes over another’s job.

Head_in_hands

And the video games industry has lost the tax break it was promised by the previous Labour government — which the Conservatives originally supported.

It’s all part of the kill-or-cure Budget unveiled by the Conservatives, determined to get the UK’s debt-load down before Britain implodes like Greece or Iceland.

Trade body Tiga estimated that the video game tax relief would create, or at least keep, 3,500 college-level jobs here in Britain. Staffing levels among French games developers have increased by 20% since France introduced a 20% tax break a couple of years ago.

The BBC has also lost out. Chancellor George Osborne confirmed that a tax on landline phones, proposed by … Read More »

Comments (2)