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11/08/2005

Film industry agrees to levy for training investment

The British film industry has given its unanimous support to a levy on film production to help train filmmakers of the future.
The investment in education and skills will develop the talents of film crews from directors to camera operators to set decorators and costume designers. The existing film training levy, the Skills Investment Fund (SIF) collected by Skillset, the Sector Skills Council, is voluntary with productions contributing 0.5% of their budgets up to a maximum of £39,500. So far the SIF levy has raised £3.2m from over 260 films such as ‘Batman Begins’, ‘Vera Drake’ and ‘Bullet Boy’.
Following a widespread consultation with the industry, the levy will now move to a statutory footing with the establishment of the Skillset Film Industry Training Board.
Phil Hope, Minister for Lifelong Learning, said: "The leading organisations in the British film industry have said loud and clear they want a mandatory training levy to fund the skills training they need to compete. The Government will continue to support and work with them to deliver this. Skillset and the UK Film Council have shown vision and leadership, building strong partnerships to drive investment in the workforce forward and I congratulate them for that.
"The film industry consistently produces creative and technical talent that ranks with the best in the world. This initiative will help ensure investment in training is there to retain the workforce and encourage more talented young people to fulfil their potential. The levy arrangements fit the specific needs of the film industry and this approach to training is right for its circumstances."
Film Minister James Purnell said: "Our aim is to create a coherent policy to support those who want to contribute to the success of the UK film sector, from their initial steps into the industry, through to working on a first film, through to developing sustainable companies. "Investing in training is key to all of this because people are the lifeblood of any industry. By backing this levy, the film industry is showing that it is prepared to invest in its own people and its own future. "In return, we must make sure that progress on the skills agenda, and in particular ensuring we have a world class network of screen academies, is made in lockstep with the film industry - to ensure it gets a good return on this investment."
Dinah Caine, Chief Executive of Skillset, said: "Over the last two years the film industry, through A Bigger Future, a five year strategy covering the skills needs of all jobs in film from development through to exhibition, has shown a level of support for education and skills development unparalleled by other sectors. Nurturing and training talent is recognised by industry as a top priority and they are wholeheartedly committed to it. The establishment of the Skillset Film ITB is further evidence of that commitment and the industry should be congratulated for its forward thinking.”
(GB)
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