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UK’s Animation Industry Will Make A Break For It

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Wallace & Gromit: The Wrong Trousers by Aardman

The UK government has decided not to introduce tax breaks for the domestic animation industry despite countries such as Ireland, Germany, France and Canada benefiting from subsidies and tax grants.

The UK has brought us quintessential British shows such as Wallace & Gromit, Bob the Builder and Thomas the Tank Engine, but there are fears that its animation industry will go off the rails due to the lack of support from the regional and national government.

Animation in the country will struggle to compete with the global market while it is not on a level playing field with other countries. Britain’s world famous Aardman’s animation studios have been forced to move production work overseas to enjoy essential subsidies and prevent their talent base being attracted by lucrative opportunities abroad. More than 75% of the UK’s animation studios have either done the same or considered shifting overseas as an option.

Taking into account UK’s depressing economic position, it seems the entertainment industry is not a priority for its government at the moment. The UK games industry has also suffered from the same tax woes. But how can the UK ever hope to boost their economy if it does not show some sort of confidence in industry expansion?

There is a wealth of talented and passionate animators in the UK that will continue to soldier on despite the lack of tax breaks but with every UK-based animator that is lured overseas, a part of UK’s industry goes with them.

Will it affect you or does it not make a difference to your company or projects?  What are your thoughts?

We’re interested in hearing from you…

 

Oli Hyatt form Blue Zoo and AnimationUK.org writes in to say:

Just a note saying you can get some facts and figures to back up your arguments here… www.animationuk.org, the case has been presented to the government we are asking them to help us help ourselves, so the ball is in their court. That is not to say we don’t need to keep nudging them!

All we want is to be put on a level playing field, its not rocket science, If the government started giving tax breaks to Tesco’s which meant that their food was 20%-30% cheaper we wouldn’t go and shop next door at Asda.

Its a simple as that, we are a creative, motivated and viable industry, we just need some support to thrive.

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  • so sick of seeing crap overseas cheap animation in the uk, epecially for kids tv. no wonder kids these days dont learn from these so called overseas “learning animated tv shows” they dont even speak basic english in them, no wonder kids have poor life skills….

    • Sending animation over-seas doesn’t automatically mean it’s going to look worse. It is just cheaper, unfortunately for probably the same quality of animation you would get if it was done in-house. If a script is bad, it’s going to be bad whether it is made in the UK or overseas, same with designs etc. The reason there is a lot of terrible kids shows is because they were allowed to be made in the first place. Not just because they may have been made abroad. There are a lot of bad kids shows… 

    • obviously though there are companies who probably don’t care so much about the quality either. Which makes it even more cheaper. don’t think that’s anything especially new though…

  • Anonymous

    More government insanity, IMO! 
    How do they expect to promote economic recovery without encouraging industrial regeneration in areas such as this: Areas which in their own terms have proved capable of producing flagship, award winning products for years, and have proved themselves strong survivors in the sector globally. 

  • Upstart Thunder

    It’s been like this all along in the industry and it has slowly got worse and worse. A vast majority of the work goes abroad as it is. This will surely be the last few nails in the coffin. R.I.P Animation Industry.

  • It just doesn’t make any sense to me. Our own country are driving us out to foreign lands in search of work and it’s happening more and more. Being in the gaming industry at the moment I’m constantly hearing of other studios shutting down and that it’s increasingly harder to find work unless you move to a different country. It’s such a massive shame because so much of what makes it onto TV these days doesn’t reach the quality that it should. Back in the days when we didn’t have to worry about this we had loads of fantastic British shows on TV but now it’s mostly outsourced and it shows. Awful news as always from the government. Really puts a downer on how long animators spend improving their craft and actually trying to get somewhere with it.

  • Nice balanced article, the government is a tory government, and they have stated that they do  not believe in growth, they believe in cuts. Unfortunately they were voted in and now we have to deal with it

  • Oli Hyatt

    Just a note saying you can get some facts and figures to back up your arguments here… http://www.animationuk.org, the case has been presented to the government we are asking them to help us help ourselves, so the ball is in their court. That is not to say we don’t need to keep nudging them!

    All we want is to be put on a level playing field, its not rocket science, If the government started giving tax breaks to Tesco’s which meant that their food was 20%-30% cheaper we wouldn’t go and shop next door at Asda.

    Its a simple as that, we are a creative, motivated and viable indusrty, we just need some support to thrive.

    • Well put and thank you for the link. Let’s hope the government can see sense before it’s too late.

  • It’s a real blow, but I do think we need to expand the debate beyond tax – we don’t want to be trapped into a “race to the bottom”. Subsidies or cheap loans for productions may be a better route to go down, rather than reduced tax on profits? Or a dedicated Animation investment body, much like the Film Council (RIP)… Either that or we all just pack our bags and get it over with.

  • Coming from the film industry, I feel the animation and game industry should get the same benefits as we do. Let creativity flourish!

  • Can anybody give an idea of how big is the animation industry in the UK? And of it, what percentage is medical animation?

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