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BECTU supports call for diversity tax relief for TV and film productions

Lenny Henry

6 November 2018

Lenny Henry and Adrian Lester will deliver a letter to Number 10 today calling for a tax relief to be granted to productions that meet a number of diversity criteria.

The letter, which BECTU and BECTU’s Black Members’ Committee signed calls for tax relief to be given to film and TV productions where:

(1) The director is a woman and/or disabled and/or from a BAME background. 

(2) The writer is a woman and/or disabled and/or from a BAME background. 

(3) The director of photography is a woman and/or disabled and/or from a BAME background. 

(4) 50% of staff spend behind the camera is on female staff, or 14% on BAME staff, or 18% on disabled staff.

Philippa Childs head of BECTU said in response:

“BECTU welcomes this proposal which aims to increase diversity in film and TV as we are aware and have been working to address the woeful levels of representation that exist across the industry.

“The criteria set out for the proposed “Representation Tax Relief” are a step in the right direction, however this should be supported by further measures which hold employers to account on their employment practices.

“Meeting three out of the four criteria would vastly improve the diversity of any production, but not all programmes will be able to do this. An easy way of monitoring equality across the entire industry is to for Project Diamond, the broadcasters’ diversity initiative, to be used to make programme makers more accountable.

“BECTU has been calling for programme-level data on diversity to be publicly made available, but has met resistance again and again.

“Information on the diversity of those working on Emmerdale or Holby City for example, rather than merely that of people working in drama generally, would focus the minds of those hiring the production workforce. For the first time any lack of diversity would become their problem, rather than merely the industry's problem. 

"This transparency would allow the industry and employers to see what work needs to be done to improve the dismal situation as it currently stands. It would also enable those with a good track record to share their knowledge with those who need assistance."