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BSF asks government to protect tax credits, enforce AI shields, support freelancers

Kerry Kent, head of policy, and Pete Johnson, CEO, at British Screen Forum

Industry membership body British Screen Forum (BSF) has called on the new Labour government to support screen sector growth in the UK.

In the BSF’s ‘Manifesto for an Incoming Government’, published this week, the organisation asks prime minister Keir Starmer to recognise the importance of the TV and film ecosystem to the UK’s creative industries.

It also encourages Labour to appreciate the screen sector’s vital role in growing the economy and supporting jobs.

Last Thursday’s UK general election saw Starmer’s Labour party win a landslide victory over the Conservatives, led by Rishi Sunak.

Starmer then named Lisa Nandy as Labour’s first culture secretary since 2010.

BSF has called on Labour to develop screen sector policy based on “a clear understanding of the high cost, high risk, hit-dependent nature of the industry.”

Its manifesto encourages the incoming government to maintain a competitive tax credit regime at a time when other international markets are offering aggressive tax relief incentives.

BSF would also like to see improved access to finance for indie prodcos, and the expansion of expenditure credit definitions to include research and development (R&D) as an eligible cost.

Other targeted policy interventions the BSF recommends include protecting IP from AI-derived copyright infringement, supporting sustainability, boosting entry-level recruitment and addressing the mental health and financial concerns of a struggling freelance workforce.

Pete Johnson, CEO, BSF, said: “As the new government gets to work, British Screen Forum wants to remind it of the significant contribution the Screen Sector makes to the UK economy and to stress the need for intelligent and focused policy interventions which support the industry’s continued growth.

“Supporting the screen sector will foster even greater economic and cultural growth and contribute to the government’s aspirations for a strong economy.”

Kerry Kent, head of policy, BSF, said: “The screen sector will be a key contributor to the new government’s growth agenda.

“Any approach to policy change in the sector should be hyper-focused on securing maximum benefit for both the industry and government and should be done in partnership to ensure policies are proposed in the context of a clear understanding of the screen sector business model and the likely effect of any change.”

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