chancellor announces tax and broadband measures

Budget large

In his pre-election budget, Chancellor George Osborne (pictured above) announced measures to support the creative industries, including new tax relief arrangements for film, TV and orchestra and support for broadband and other infrastructure types.

The government has introduced new tax reliefs for high-end television, video games, animation and theatre, and has expanded the film tax relief.

The government will:

• increase the rate of film tax relief to 25% for all qualifying expenditure, and extend the high-end television tax relief by reducing the minimum UK expenditure requirement from 25% to 10% and modernising the cultural test

• introduce a new children’s television tax relief from April 2015, which will include children’s programmes that are game shows or competitions

• introduce a new orchestra tax relief from April 2016 at a rate of 25%

The government will also:

• extend the Skills Investment Fund, providing £4 million to ensure that it can continue to match fund support for training and development in film, television, visual effects, video games and animation for a further two years.

• commit £4 million to a new Video Games Prototype Fund over the next 4 years; this fund is designed to aid access to finance and business support, and to target games development talent.

The government has already provided access to superfast broadband to over 2 million homes and businesses across the UK, with 40,000 extra premises being connected each week.

To further enhance the UK’s digital communications infrastructure, the government is announcing a new ambition that ultrafast broadband of at least 100 Megabits per second (Mbps) should be available to nearly all UK premises.

The government will also take further action to support the delivery of broadband in rural areas, including looking to raise the Universal Service Obligation – the legal entitlement to a basic  service – from dial-up speeds to 5 Mbps broadband, and subsidising the costs of installing superfast capable satellite services.

The government will provide up to £600 million to support the delivery of the change of use of 700MHz spectrum, which will further enhance the UK’s mobile broadband connectivity.

In February 2015, the Chancellor convened tech entrepreneurs to launch the Tech Nation report, which revealed that over 170,000 people are now working in digital business in the North, many in rapidly expanding tech clusters.

To accelerate this growth, the government will support the development of innovative businesses across the north through an £11 million investment in tech incubators in Manchester, Leeds and Sheffield.

These tech incubators in Sheffield, Leeds and Manchester, will create thriving local ecosystems by nurturing start ups, fostering collaboration, and providing mentoring, learning and business support:

The government will also provide further strategic science and innovation investments to make the UK a global leader in emerging markets and technologies, drawing on and supporting the UK’s existing world-class research base.

The government will commit:

• £138 million of funding towards the UK Collaboratorium for Research in Infrastructure and Cities (UKCRIC), subject to a satisfactory business case and the provision of substantial co-funding.

The UKCRIC will apply research to ensure that the UK’s infrastructure is resilient and responsive to environmental and economic impacts. It will have hubs in London, and further centres initially in Birmingham, Newcastle, Sheffield and
Southampton. Other measures are:

• £100 million for Research and Development into Intelligent Mobility, which will focus on enhancing the development of driverless car technology and the systems required to implement and adopt the technology, such as telecommunications.

• £40 million for demonstrator programmes, business incubator space and a research hub to develop applications for Internet of Things technologies in healthcare and social care, and Smart Cities. 

ENDS

Read the Budget in full.

Published: March 20, 2015.