The UK government is to create a £500m insurance fund to help productions restart shooting.

Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak and Minister for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Oliver Dowden, are to announce the £500m to help domestic film and TV productions struggling to get coronavirus related insurance.

Industry bodies Pact and the BFI have welcomed the announcement. Pact’s Chief Executive John McVay leads the industry’s working group on insurance as part of the BFI’s Screen Sector Task Force. The group has been working with Government to reach a solution to the lack of COVID-19 insurance, which has prevented the majority of the UK’s TV and film industry from returning to work.

Commenting on the announcement, John McVay said: “This very welcome news shows that the UK Government has listened to one of our key industries and has taken unprecedented steps to support our highly successful indigenous film and TV production and broadcasting industry to get back to what we love most – making TV programmes and films enjoyed by UK audiences and many more millions around the globe.

“This will not only help many hundreds of small companies across the UK, but also the many thousands of freelancers who have been furloughed to get back to work along with those who sadly weren’t able to benefit from the Government’s interventions.

“It will also be good news for UK viewers who will be looking forward to new content becoming available as soon as possible. And with over 500 companies telling us at the beginning of lockdown that they only had enough reserves for 3-6 months, it will also help one of the world’s most successful independent sectors back to growth.”

Sara Geater, Chair of Pact and COO of All3Media, said: “The UK indie sector had a very strong 2019, making award winning series for both the UK and US markets. We have been very badly hit by COVID-19 and the support of the Government at this time is critical and hugely appreciated. Our sector now has every chance of a return to being the successful global industry that we are renowned for.”

Ben Roberts, BFI Chief Executive, said: “Given the significant contribution of film and TV production to the UK economy, there has been a huge joint effort on the part of government and industry to get production restarted. The issue of securing coronavirus-related insurance quickly emerged as the biggest hurdle for independent producers – and a major priority for the Screen Sector Taskforce – so the Government’s £500 million scheme is really great news for our production business, jobs and for the economy.”

Along with UK broadcasters Pact involved many leading production companies in the negotiations including the following senior Executives from scripted and factual production:

Hakan Kousetta, Chief Operating Officer, See-Saw Films, who also sits on the industry working group, said: “This is exactly the shot in the arm the TV and film industry has been waiting for. This intervention will allow production companies to get going again and thereby ensure that hundreds of millions of pounds worth of production spend can be applied to British jobs and services.”

Martin Haines, Managing Director, Kudos, who has been part of the negotiations, said: “This is a decisive and timely intervention which turns the lights back on and is an absolute gamechanger for recovery of the TV and film industries and the thousands of people who work in them.”

Jon Creamer