Why We Should All Watch More Films

If anyone asks tell them you’re watching lots of films because it’s good for the UK economy and encourages more tourists to visit here. Still not convinced? OK. Tell them that those visitors will have spent £597.7 million in film-related tourism in the UK, and so have generated 628.3 million in gross value added (GVA) which in turn supports over 13,000 jobs and creates nearly £195 million in tax revenues.

If that doesn’t impress them then we don’t know what will.

And if they ask you where you’ve got these figures from, then refer them to the British Film Institute which has just published a new report called ‘Screen Business’, that analyses the impact that the government’s various film industry tax breaks are having on the wider economy.

It turns out that films with a strong UK story, place or culture such as Harry Potter, Paddington and Kingsman have been used in several UK tourism campaigns and those in turn have encouraged lots of visitors to come and see the places where these films were shot.

In fact the British film industry’s contribution to the UK economy goes a lot further than encouraging tourist to visit here. The report provides some pretty powerful evidence about how its ‘seeding unprecedented levels of production, creating thousands of jobs, growing businesses and infrastructure, generating record levels of inward investment, boosting exports of UK productions and services internationally and creating spillover benefits for other industries’. Phew. And you thought it was all about entertainment.

Given HM Government’s generosity – few other industries have squeezed as many tax concessions out of the Chancellor as the film industry – then it probably does need to work hard to justify why it should keep them.

And this report does a good job of it. Did you know that the ‘estimated £632 million in tax relief seeded £3.16 billion in direct production spend in 2016, a 17% increase on 2015’? No, we didn’t either.  Or that film and high-end television production attracted £1.97 billion of inward investment’.

These are big numbers and we clearly all ought to think  about the film industry in a fresh light. Preferably a dimmed one with some popcorn close by.



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