On the 29 July 2020 the Government announced the launch of a Government-backed Film & TV Production Restart Scheme for UK film and TV productions worth £500 million pounds to kickstart domestic TV and film productions that have been struggling to obtain insurance for COVID-19 related losses for cast and crew illnesses and filming delays or disruptions.
Few details have been provided to date and the scheme at present is still subject to state aid approval by the European Commission. The Government is expected to provide more information on the scheme and in respect of the eligibility process, claims system and premiums in the coming weeks. This is what we know so far:
- The scheme is a temporary measure that will support productions which commence filming before the end of the calendar year and for coronavirus-related losses through to the end of June 2021.
- It will be possible to back date any future claims for eligible losses to the 29 July 2020.
- The funding will be available to all productions made by companies where at least 50% of the production budget is spent in the UK.
- The scheme will be available to compensate productions after they have restarted production, and only where costs are then incurred due to delays or abandonment as a result of coronavirus.
- Eligible productions will receive compensation for costs caused by Covid-19 delays and suspension up to a value of 20% of the production budget, with abandonment of productions due to coronavirus to be covered up to 70% of the production budget (upon agreement with the Government that abandonment was necessary).
- There will be a total cap on claims per production of £5million.
- Productions will need to pay an excess when seeking to claim under the scheme as well as a fee when joining the scheme (details of which are yet to be released).
- Productions will need to provide evidence that they cannot continue production because of a lack of insurance.
- Productions will still need to purchase production insurance to cover non-coronavirus related risks in the usual way to ensure their production is otherwise adequately insured; this scheme only covers productions in respect of coronavirus related losses where they are not covered by their standard production insurance.
The scheme is a welcome announcement to the UK film and television sector, which supports more than 180,000 jobs and contributes more than £12 billion to the economy annually, the majority of which has been prevented from restarting production to date due to the lack of insurance available. It is hoped that this scheme will give the UK’s film and television industry more confidence that they will be supported if future losses are incurred due to Covid-19. We will provide further updates as and when these are released.