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Film Tax Breaks Proposed For An Independent Scotland

by Amanda Banks,, London

27 June 2014

Scotland's Culture Secretary, Fiona Hyslop, has released a discussion draft on support options that the Scottish Government could offer the film industry in an independent Scotland.

The draft was released at an event at Edinburgh Castle on June 24, 2014. It sets out the support already available in Scotland and existing UK tax relief, and outlines tax relief and other incentives available elsewhere. For example, it points out that the Isle of Man provides equity investment and tax credits to film and TV productions through its Media Development Fund, and the Netherlands offers an investment tax incentive for film investment.

Public sector support for the sector in Scotland reached its highest ever level at GBP21m (USD35m) in 2012/13, and an announcement on a film studio for Scotland is expected to be made this summer. However, Hyslop said that only with the full powers of independence can the Scottish Government give the sector the support it needs to reach its full potential.

Speaking ahead of the event, Ms Hyslop said: "Independence for Scotland would offer the opportunity to make a meaningful change in support for the screen sector, by focusing the world's attention on our nation and giving power over crucial instruments such as fiscal incentives. The paper I am publishing today will inform debate on how best to make that happen. It sets out a range of options for support for the sector which are already working across Europe."

"Following a vote for independence, we would review the package of support available for the sector within the first term of Parliament. Only independence offers the range of powers that can make a difference. None of the proposals for more devolution contain anything that would devolve tax powers relating to screen production," she said.

"We are already taking the action we can to support the industry under present constitutional arrangements – we are currently considering a number of proposals for developing and operating a Scottish film studio. But with the powers of independence we could help this vital industry to reach its full potential. Independence would change broadcasting and film for the better, both for the industry and for the public."

TAGS: tax | investment | film finance | equity investment | United Kingdom | tax credits | cultural heritage | Europe | Scotland

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