The government announced its decision to abolish the UK Film Council in July 2010
24 September 2010
In a recent submission to the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee, BECTU warns of the risk to homegrown film-making if the UK Film Council is abolished.
The union's submission, written by research officer Andy Egan, argues that the UK could 'pay a price in terms of the long-term viability of our film industry' if the decision to abolish the UK Film Council , announced in July, is not reversed.
- The film industry contributes £4.5bn per year to GDP with £3.6bn of this arising from inward ie foreign investment.
- £1.2bn is raised for the Exchequer, compared to film tax relief of only £110m.
- The industry directly employs 36,000 workers and supports a total of 100,000 direct and indirect jobs.
- The industry workforce has a worldwide reputation for its skills and experience.
Arguing for the retention of the UK Film Council, BECTU says:
"However, we also know that the film industry is extremely fragmented, with a workforce that is almost entirely freelance, and a predominance of SMEs and single-purpose vehicles (ie companies formed to make a single film) rather than significant, permanent corporate structures.
"In this context, the strategic role of the UK Film Council has been vital, acting for the industry and bringing coherence to its relations with the outside world in a way that no other body is in a position to do – campaigning for inward investment; representing the industry in discussions with government (for example, on modifying the tax break); channelling lottery funding into successful productions; investing in training for key workers in the sector and new entrants; developing the national network of digital cinema screens; promoting diversity in the industry’s workforce; and campaigning against piracy/copyright theft."
The document also makes powerful arguments in support of continued government support for the arts, a sector which "is an economic success story in its own right".
Backing the arts
The upcoming October Comprehensive Spending Review threatens major cuts in arts funding which many campaigners believe will do long term and irreparable damage to the sector. BECTU has welcomed the I Value The Arts campaign led by the National Campaign for the Arts which is encouraging the public to recognise what is at stake.
Aside from the social benefits, the arts are credited with making a substantial contribution to the UK economy which far outweighs the levels of funding. "Public funding for the arts also has a powerful multiplier effect, stimulating economic activity in ancillary sectors, including tourism", says BECTU's submission.