Anyone who has any doubts about the size and scale of the UK production boom can have a look at the latest BFI Screen Business report (if the annual Pact Census most recently published in September wasn’t convincing enough!).
The highlights are that the report shows that record levels of production in the UK across film, high-end TV, video games, children’s TV, and animation sectors have also created the equivalent of 219,000 full-time jobs.
The report confirms that the UK is experiencing the highest ever return on investment to the UK economy of £13.48bn (Gross Value Added) from the UK’s Government’s screen tax reliefs from 2017-2019 across the UK’s nations and regions.
The use of GVA is an interesting one – the Return on Investment shows that – for every £1 of UK Film Tax Relief – it generates £8.30 back to the UK economy.
This is an argument that Bectu has used in the past to illustrate the value of BBC expenditure and in a period where one of our biggest threats is to ‘UK commissions’ (who will struggle to find crew, given the perfect storm that UK production is going through) it’s still an important factor.
The growth is stunning. Production spends – direct spend on-screen production in the UK – increased by 74% with £13.86bn between 2017 and 2019 (£7.94bn, 2014-2016). In the nations and regions, High-end television (HETV) boosted spending with £1.56bn spent outside Metro London – 33% of UK total spend between 2017 and 2019.
The studio expansions (covered extensively on this blog under ‘UK Studio Watch‘) involved over £131 million expansion in new production facilities across the UK during 2017-2019 with £785.4 million for further planned studio investment (though, if anything, this figure looks like an understatement of the known spend to me).
The post-covid recovery is going very well with 2021 figures showing that the UK screen sector has accelerated with £4.7bn of spend on film and high-end television production from January – September.
Crazy times. Exciting times, but also worrying times from a few perspectives:
- Will the UK be able to continue to commission UK content for UK audiences (UK stories, UK locations, UK characters, UK writers, etc – the thing that David Tennant and John Whittingdale are both worried about)?
- Will UK crew have the capacity to do this without a destructive self-defeating cycle of long-hours stressed working? Will we be able to attract and retain the skills needed?