There’s been much excitement this week following the launch of the latest Star Wars film, but eagle-eyed fans have spotted our very own Chancellor, George Osborne, and Minister for Culture, Ed Vaizey, making an appearance right at the end of the film credits. So how on earth did that happen?
It appears that they have both been credited for their part in introducing tax incentives for the film industry, a decision that saw Lucasfilm and Disney move the production of Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens to the UK.
This has clearly been a coup for the Chancellor who has made no secret of his commitment to the UK’s thriving film industry, after continuing to make film tax credits more generous. And already this is yielding some positive results with the British Film Institute reporting that the UK film industry generated a total spend of £1.47bn last year - the highest recorded figure ever – with production of international films in the UK seeing inward investment rise to £1.23bn.
However, we urge Mr Osborne not to get too carried away with this latest claim to fame. Recent headlines report that UK public finances are worse than expected, with the budget deficit in November being 10% higher than in the same month last year. Borrowing during the first eight months of 2015-16 was reported to be £66.9bn - only £2bn short of the total expected by the OBR for the whole of the financial year.
Surely it won’t be long before mischievous critics claim that ‘the farce awakens’?
If you would like to discuss any of the issues further, please contact George Bull or your usual RSM contact.