Film animators call for level playing field
Animation film producers, through their association Animation UK, are urging the government to legislate for an industry-specific tax credit.
Alex Wiseman, Head of Sales and Acquisitions at Aardman Rights explains what could happen if the arrangement isn't forthcoming.
“If the tax credit is not secured, we will see the continued demise of our unparalleled animation heritage, with more and more companies outsourcing or disappearing altogether,” she said.
“We are cautiously optimistic and very hopeful that it will be approved following the consultation process,” Wiseman added.
Animation UK has been lobbying the government for the tax credit, which would be similar to the one already established for the feature film industry in the UK.
“It means that animation producers will be receiving meaningful relief on corporate tax enabling them to keep animation production in-house or in the UK rather than having to outsource abroad,” said Wiseman.
“10 years ago 80 per cent of the animation kids watched on TV in the UK, was produced in the UK. Last year it was only 20 per cent. This is a critical reduction and a very worrying trend,” she added.
The animation industry feels at a disadvantage because competitors are receiving subsidisation for animation, making it more difficult to compete in price.
Miles Bullough, Head of Broadcast at Aardman Animations, believes that the animation industry needs a level playing field.
“Our competitors in Australia, Singapore, and Canada are getting subsidisation for animation and it has put us at a big disadvantage,” he said.
Oliver Hyatt, Chairman of Animation UK says that the animation industry must keep up the momentum to make sure the legislation is approved.
“If there are no jobs, graduates coming out now will suffer, and less universities will run courses on animation,” said Hyatt.
However, Tim Shore, Head of Animation at London College of Communication, thinks that the lack of tax break for animation does not directly affect courses teaching animation in universities.
“It isn't something that directly impacts courses teaching animation. The lack of tax break for animation, unlike that for film, is of course unfair and discriminatory,” said Shore.
As the animation industry remains a strong sector of the creative industries, it still needs to have more awareness and be celebrated moving forward.
“Britain is rich in commercial and independent animation production that runs from children’s TV to games, post production, independent and artists animation, its a broad sector that should be recognised, supported and celebrated,” said Shore.