Give tax breaks to more diverse production firms, say actors

Production companies should be given tax relief to encourage them to employ more women, disabled people and people from minority ethnic backgrounds, according to a host of prominent figures in show business and other areas of pubic life. They wrote:

The actors Lenny Henry, Thandie Newton and Chiwetel Ejiofor were among the signatories to a letter to the Guardian that said similar moves had been successful before and should be tried again.

“True representation of the diversity of the UK isn’t just about what we see on our screens, but also the people writing, directing, filming and working behind the camera,”

“Over the years, some of the most important British films and television have been written and directed by Britain’s talented female, BAME [black, Asian and minority ethnic] and disabled creatives … They enrich the creativity of the UK and add to our cultural heritage, but unfortunately they continue to be the exception rather than the rule.”

The letter was signed by 80 people, who also included the actor and playwright Kwame Kwei-Armah, the actor Sharon Horgan, and the campaigner Doreen Lawrence, whose son Stephen was murdered in an unprovoked racist attack in 1993.

Also putting their names to the letter were the Paralympic athlete and television presenter Ade Adepitan, the playwright Lucy Prebble and Jodie Whittaker, the first female actor to play Doctor Who.

They said “representation tax relief” was necessary because the UK film and television industry found itself in a “crisis” in terms of the inclusion of women, disabled people and those from BAME backgrounds, with research showing these groups are still underrepresented behind the camera.

In order to address this, they suggested giving tax relief to productions that meet three of the four following criteria: having the director, photography director or writer from one of these groups, and/or those from underrepresented backgrounds making up more than half the people behind the camera.


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First Published 05.11.18:

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