The UK government has unveiled further details of its £500m ($650m) scheme designed to help domestic film and TV productions struggling to get Covid-19 related insurance, although a formal start date for registration has not yet been provided.
The Film and TV Production Restart Scheme, first unveiled in July, is designed to stop producers moving series abroad or spiking programmes completely, after the pandemic caused hundreds of shows including Line Of Duty and Peaky Blinders to suspend filming.
The announcement from the UK’s chancellor Rishi Sunak and minister for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) Oliver Dowden is expected to kickstart productions worth upwards of £1bn, with the fund acting as a government-supported back-stop should a second wave of Covid-19 cause another halt to shoots.
Draft details & eligibility
DCMS and the UK Treasury have now published the draft scheme rules, with funding available to all productions made by companies where at least half of the production budget is spent in the UK. It is estimated to cover more than 70% of the film and TV production market to the end of the year.
The draft documents, which are liable to change, include a raft of other eligibility criteria and are available in full here. Registration is not yet open but the government said a formal date for this would come “in due course.” As per the initial announcement, claims made under the scheme can be backdated to 28 July, 2020.
DCMS have appointed Marsh Commercial as the third party administrator for the scheme, but said queries should not be made until the scheme is officially launched.
The government added that the registration deadline for the scheme would run until 31 December, adding that claims will be able to be submitted up to 23:59 GMT 30 November 2021 for losses incurred up until 23:59 GMT on 30 June 2021.
UK producer body Pact, which represents more than 450 UK prodcos and has worked closely on the scheme, welcomed the developments.
“The scheme will help UK productions that have been suspended and are not able to secure insurance going forward or are yet to start because of no existing insurance but can begin principal photography before the end of the year,” it said.
Pact CEO John McVay added: “The majority of the film and TV sector has been unable to return to production due to a lack of Covid insurance cover, so clarity on the government scheme means that the sector should now be able to get back to what we love most – making TV programmes and films enjoyed by UK audiences and many more millions around the globe.”
Sara Geater, chair of Pact and All3Media COO, added: “We welcome the Government’s support for our industry which will see a return to work for thousands of people and provide the UK TV and film industry with the opportunity and confidence to put production plans into practice to build on the huge global success we achieved in 2019.”