The Children’s Media Foundation (CMF)

New tax break – George Osborne’s announcement

The Chancellor delivered his Autumn statement, and live-action children's programmes featured prominently...

CMF Director, Greg Childs reports on the implications for children and media

The Autumn Statement from the Chancellor, laying out spending plans for the coming year, has already produced adavance press coverage on plans for new roads, flood prevention, the NHS and a Garden City. But a small statement within the Statement is a ray of light for the kids' media industries - and the children's audience in the UK.

Tax breaks, mirroring those already in place for film, animation, high-end drama series, games, and theatre production, are to be extended to children's television produced in the UK.

After years of campaigning this is a breakthrough. Politicians of all parties have long agreed that there is a problem in the decline in commissioning of UK-produced, shows by broadcasters - leaving the BBC as almost the sole "player". But up to now no-one has come forward with a plan to redress this.

During the animation tax break campaign, an idea was formed to extend the incentive to children's live action. The Producers' Association Pact and CMF agreed to wait for the success of the animation tax break to be crystal clear, then Pact put its considerable weight behind an economic assessment of the proposal - proving that there would be a net benefit to the Treasury. Pact also backed the Children's Media Foundation's long-expressed cultural argument for support.

The tax break will lead in part to more commissioning of original programming in the UK. it will mean that kids get to see more of the places in which they live, hear their own voices and tell their own stories. This is vital to connect them to the culture in which they live, and to society as a whole.

When the Chancellor began to express similar sentiments in a speech made last week, CMF responded with a letter supporting the tax incentive, signed by over 30 key names concerned with culture and kids, including Lord Puttnam, Baroness Benjamin, Quentin Blake, Malorie Blackman and Cressida Cowell.

You can see the letter here.

What remains to be seen is whether broadcasters beyond the BBC will now step up and use the incentive to commission more local content. The campaign continues...

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The Children’s Media Foundation (CMF)