Written by Shona Smith on Aug 5, 2020. Posted in General Interest

Government backed UK insurance fund to unlock production spend in the wake of coronavirus

A government backed GBP500 million fund for film and television production struggling to secure insurance for Covid-related costs in the UK will kickstart production in the wake of Coronavirus. Insurance and Coronavirus-related losses for cast member and crew illnesses, film in delays or disruptions caused by the ongoing battle against Coronavirus will be covered by the fund.

Although some productions such as ITV drama Line of Duty, Netflix’s The Witcher, and the BBC’s Death in Paradise (pictured) have resumed production many more have held off rolling cameras without insurance that covers Covid-19 costs. The British Film Institute’s Screen Sector Task Force has worked closely with the government to show the extent of the problem, explore possible solutions to develop the fund.

The scheme is hoped to kickstart production, unlocking pent up production spend and employing the industry’s talent. The Film & TV Production Restart Scheme will compensate productions for Coronavirus delays of up to 20% of the production budget, capping at GBP5 million per production. In the event that a production is abandoned after cameras start rolling, up to 70% of the budget will be covered. The temporary measure will support productions commencing filming before the end of the calendar year and for Coronavirus related losses until the end of June 2021.

Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak said “This targeted scheme which will help fill the gap created by the lack of available insurance, will help protect tens of thousands of jobs, from actors and directors through to camera operators, costume designers, and runners. The sector is worth over GBP12 billion to the UK’s economy, so it’s right that we do what we can to help them reopen and get back to making the films and shows that we all love”.

The news gives production companies the confidence to resume filming and has been widely welcomed by the UK’s production sector. Elizabeth Karlsen, Producer at Number 9 Films (Collette, On Chesil Beach) who says that “we can go forward with our project Mothering Sunday shooting this Autumn as planned with the best of UK talent now secure in their jobs. It is an enormous relief to us and to many people who have been working tirelessly to keep projects alive over the past few months. We would like to thank those who given support and to those who have played a hand in reaching this vital and welcome decision”.

The Film & TV Production Restart Scheme will be available to compensate productions after they have restarted, and only where costs are then incurred due to delays or abandonment as a result of Coronavirus. Eligible productions will receive compensation costs for coronavirus delays up to a value of 20% of the production budget. Abandonment of productions due to coronavirus will be covered up to 70% of the production budget as long as the Government agrees that the abandonment was necessary. There is a total cap on claims per production of GBP5 million, and productions will need to pay an appropriate excess when seeking to claim under the scheme, as well as an appropriate fee when joining the scheme. Productions will also need to purchase insurance to cover non-coronavirus risks to ensure their production is adequately insured.

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