Animation UK is urging the Chancellor to introduce tax credits in this month’s budget. On the eve of the British Animation Awards (15 Mar), we ask: what real difference would tax breaks make to UK animation?

Miles Bullough, Aardman
It’s very depressing to spend months and £1000s to develop a show and then see up to 80% of the jobs located overseas just to access foreign tax credits. The problem gets worse when you realise how good our overseas competitors are getting. Their studios have great talent working non-stop; soon they won’t need our custom as they will be generating work of their own – or just hiring our talent. A tax credit would have an immediate impact on employment in the UK animation sector. It would help us retain our best talent and get their ideas into production on a timetable that doesn’t make them fear growing old.

Oli Hyatt, Blue-Zoo Animation
Animation UK think it would make a huge difference for the UK industry for number of reasons but more important is the fact the government are catching on. Meeting with the Chancellor, the DCMS and top Treasury officials only four weeks before the budget to discuss a proposed animation tax credit shows what a huge way we have come. The government and civil servants said we had suffered in the past from being ‘hugely under represented’. They now understand our issues and know the value of increasing IP in the UK and the inward investment that could come from a tax credit for the animation industry, as well as the benefits for the children that watch our shows.

Jackie Edwards, CBeebies
There is a long history of TV animation in the UK. From The Clangers, Postman Pat to Rastamouse and Abney & Teal, these programmes are part of our cultural DNA. UK shows have a more immediate relevance to our audience, and it’s great when shows are produced locally – they work – but it happens less and less these days. At CBeebies, we look at ideas from all over the globe. Unlike many international competitors, UK producers have no local incentives to support their production and end up giving away the lions share of work and rights in their IP. You have to admire how UK producers play so well on such an uneven playing field.

Phil Davies, Astley Baker Davies
Here at Astley, Baker, Davies, we know only too well the value of home grown British IP. The global success of Peppa Pig means we now generate annually over 100 times the show’s original budget at retail. However, we found with shows like Peppa Pig it’s incredibly hard to get them off the ground. A tax break for animation in the UK would stop the leaking of talent overseas, and mean UK companies could hold onto the valuable IP rights that help build and sustain creative businesses. The global toy industry is worth £3bn annually – shows like ours contribute significantly towards the industry. A stronger animation sector will only contribute even more towards growing and sustaining the market.

Tim Dams

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