Yesterday saw the Government put some flesh on the bones of Tuesday’s very welcome announcement of a £500m “Film and TV Production Restart Scheme”. The scheme will support productions which are forced to suspend or abandon production due to COVID and have no insurance for such eventualities. In an industry that runs almost entirely on optimism, this is the first really good news that we have seen for many months.
In terms of qualification, it will apply to films which are spending 50% of more of the budget in the United Kingdom – this is important as it appears to apply to overseas productions as well as home grown and therefore will continue to support inwards investment. It will cover up to 20% of costs of suspension and 70% of the costs if fully abandoned with a maximum cap of £5,000,000.
There are still some blanks to be filled in – productions will need to pay an “appropriate excess” and will have to pay an “appropriate fee” to join the scheme and will have to show that they could not have secured insurance otherwise. Finally, it is a temporary scheme, running until June 2021 but it may buy enough breathing space for the specialist insurance market to come back up to speed; we are seeing green shoots already and like all insurance, cover can usually be found for the right premium but it will be slow given the enormous number of claims currently being processed.
A £500 million insurance fund has been set up to help the UK film and TV industry get back on its feet following the coronavirus pandemic.