The UK government’s Film and TV Production Restart insurance scheme has been extended through April and now covers crew and cast over 70.

The £500 million scheme, which opened for applications in October, has now backed nearly 100 productions with insurance against future losses incurred due to Covid-19

The scope of the Restart Scheme has been extended so that cast and crew over the age of 70 can be included in the cover provided by the scheme. The changes to the scheme will enable productions to receive compensation for Covid-related delays affecting up to two cast or crew members over 70 years old.

The deadline for productions to register for the scheme has also been extended until April 2021, to give more film and high-end TV projects the security to start shooting in the spring.

The scheme also provides support for independent cinemas affected by COVID lockdowns. 201 cinemas have received funding so far from a £30 million pot allocated by the British Film Institute (BFI), on behalf of the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport. More grant applications from independent cinemas are also currently being assessed. Cinemas will be able to apply for another £14 million in grants in the new year as part of the second round of the Culture Recovery Fund. The new round of funding is in addition to the £30 million already being allocated by the BFI.

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said: “The magic of film is such an important part of the festive period and this investment will help protect our independent cinemas so they’re around for many Christmases to come. Alongside it, the extension of the Film and TV Production Restart Scheme means the UK will be producing even more great content as the cinema industry recovers, keeping us at the forefront of the creative industries.”

The Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, said: “As a Star Wars fan, I know there’s no better place to experience great films than in your local cinema and these grants will provide vital support for independent venues through Christmas and beyond.

“Our Restart Scheme has already helped to get nearly 100 film and TV productions back up and running as part of our Plan for Jobs, and it’s right that we extend this to support even more jobs in the UK’s creative industries, including for the over 70s.

Jon Creamer