The UK government has announced that it is to extend the Film and TV Production Restart Scheme by a further six months.

The scheme, which offers insurance for film and TV productions suffering losses due to COVID interruptions, will now run until December 2021.

Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, announced the plan as part of his budget.

Directors UK said it “welcomes the extension of the Film and TV Production Restart Scheme, having been an advocate of this support from the start of the COVID crisis. We’re pleased that our members and the creative sector can continue to work through the remainder of the pandemic, and its longer-term impact, and provide world-class entertainment for everyone to enjoy.”

Responding to the extension of the scheme, Head of Bectu, Philippa Childs said: “The Film and TV Production Restart Scheme is government intervention at its best and its extension will be welcomed across the industry.

“The scheme has kept thousands of people in work and allowed Bectu members working in the industry to create much-needed entertainment at a time when the country has needed it the most.

Other news from the budget included changes to apprenticeships to give apprentices more flexibility in their training. The furlough scheme has also been extended to September.

However, help for freelancers during the COVID crisis has still been left with gaping holes.

Responding to the Chancellor’s failure to address the gaps in SEISS, Head of Bectu Philippa Childs said:

“The Chancellor’s promise to do “whatever it takes” to support people and businesses rings hollow for the many thousands of freelancers in the creative industries who are yet to receive a penny from SEISS.

“The inclusion of 2019/20 newly self-employed will be a relief for some, but the government has grossly exaggerated the difference it will make.

“The changes do nothing to address the £50k cliff edge, fails to address the cut-off dates for accessing the schemes and in a final insult – the scheme will be winding up two months before the end of the furlough scheme.”

Jon Creamer