The U.K. government has set up a new £500 million scheme to kickstart film and TV productions struggling to secure insurance for COVID-19-related costs.
The new U.K.-wide Film and TV Production Restart Scheme is meant to help get TV and film productions across the country that have been halted or delayed by a lack of insurance back up and running, by giving productions the confidence they need that they will be supported if future losses are incurred due to the coronavirus. The idea is that the fund will fill the gap left by the lack of available insurance and cover coronavirus-related losses for cast member and crew illnesses and filming delays or disruptions caused by the ongoing battle against the virus.
The funding will be available to all productions made by companies where at least half of the production budget is spent in the U.K. and is estimated to cover more than 70 percent of the film and TV production market to the end of the year.
The government has also set out how organizations can apply for £880 million in grants from next week as part of the £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund— which marks the government’s biggest-ever one-off investment in the arts.
Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said: “From award-winning dramas to iconic comedies and revered documentaries, the U.K. makes the films and TV shows the world can’t wait to watch. Today’s announcement means more clapperboards snapping into action in studios across Belfast, Glasgow, Cardiff, Watford and many more.
“Our screen industries are high growth, jobs creating and showcase the best of British creativity and innovation, and I’m pleased we can give them this jump-start to get the cameras rolling again on this £12 billion industry.”
Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, said: “The U.K.’s film and TV industry is the envy of the world, and it’s vital that productions get the help they need to restart as part of our plan to kickstart jobs following the lockdown.
“This targeted scheme, which will help fill the gap created by the lack of available insurance, will help protect tens of thousands of jobs, from actors and directors through to camera operators, costume designers, and runners. The sector is worth over £12 billion to the U.K.’s economy, so it’s right that we do what we can to help them reopen and get back to making the films and shows that we all love.
“As part of the Culture Recovery Fund, grants of up to £3 million will protect important cultural assets and ensure arts and heritage continues to play a key role in leveling up the country.
“The British Film Institute, Arts Council England, Historic England and the National Lottery Heritage Fund have published guidance today on how they will judge and distribute applications. A new independent Culture Recovery Board will be chaired by Sir Damon Buffini to help administer the program, advising on the largest grant as well deciding the beneficiaries of the £270 million repayable finance element of the £1.57 billion package.”
Dowden added: “Help is on the way to our much loved cultural and heritage organizations with our £1.57 billion fund. This support package will protect buildings, organizations and people to help ensure our wonderful institutions, big and small, pull through COVID.
“Today we’re publishing guidance so organizations know how to access help. We’re also calling on organizations to be creative in diversifying their income streams and the public to continue supporting the places they love so this funding can be spread as far and wide as possible.”