£500 Million Film and TV Production Restart Scheme Announced by the Government

The Government has announced a new UK-wide £500 million Film and TV Production Restart Scheme. It is designed to cover future losses suffered due to Covid-19, thereby filling the gap left by the lack of available insurance.

As with all of these schemes, there is likely to be more clarification of the mechanics of the scheme as things progress and more information about claims is anticipated on Wednesday 5th August. Also, based on other measures, it is likely that it will be tweaked as things unfold and various scenarios become apparent.

More details of the Cultural Recovery Fund are also now available. We are hoping that something similar to the BFI part of the scheme for cinemas will be put in place for theatres at some point.

The Government announcement can be found here.

The headlines are:

  • Government announces £500 million kickstart scheme for film and television productions struggling to secure insurance for COVID19 related costs. Please note that it appears to be quite specific and, in particular, insurance related and is, therefore, not going to fund losses already incurred, it is primarily designed to give upcoming productions the confidence to start up knowing that any COVID19 interruptions etc. will be covered.
  • Details were also released on how claims may be made for £880 million of the £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund and the British Film Institute, Arts Council England, Historic England and Lottery Heritage Fund have published guidance for claims.

Film and TV Scheme

To reiterate, the film and TV cash is for insuring future work and not past losses. The notion here is that insurers will not, generally, wish to cover the risks of COVID19 and a ‘market failure’ is being covered. To be eligible a production’s budget needs to be at least 50% incurred in the UK.

This is a temporary measure for productions commencing before 31 December 2020. The insurance can only cover COVID19 related losses through to June 2021. Delays will be covered up to 20% of the budget. Where a film is abandoned and the Government agree that it was caused by COVID19, claims may go up to 70% of the budget. There is a cap of £5 million on any one production and productions must have parallel insurance covering non COVID19 losses. There will be an ‘excess’ amount on any claim. One aspect that does look potentially tricky is that productions will need to prove that a current lack of insurance is preventing restarting now.

Cultural Recovery Fund

The Cultural Recovery Fund may provide grants of up to £3 million to protect ‘cultural assets’. As noted above, guidance has been issued by the four administrative bodies. There is also a £270 million repayable finance element of the £1.57 billion package.

British Film Institute

The BFI have a £30 million part of the Culture Recovery Fund and it appears to be aimed at independent and not for profit cinemas. This will help towards reopening with Social Distancing measures in place. The fund opens on 10th August. The grants can cover both the cost safety measures and business sustainability. More details here.

Arts Council England

Grants of between £50,000 and £3 million for Cultural Organisations (‘cultural defined as sitting within the remit of Arts Council England) and are available to profit or non-profit companies, charities and public bodies (but not libraries). Claims will be dealt with in two rounds, firstly on 10th August 2020 with Round 2 on 21st August 2020. Read more.

Historic England

There is an £88 million fund for Heritage covering re-opening costs, operating costs, hibernation costs, mothballing costs and economic recovery costs. This is being run with the National Lottery.

This is open to not for profit managing heritage sites, venues and attractions as well as private owners of heritage sites open more than 28 days or more per year. Other organisations managing assets or culturally significant collections may also apply.

Grants range from £10,000 to £3 million and must be spent by 31 March 2021. The fund opens on 30 July 2020 and applications must be made by 17th August 2020. Find out more.

National Lottery Heritage Fund

This is the same as the Historic England part of the fund (above). Hiowever, their web page does appear to go into greater detail regarding who may be eligible. Click for details.

If you have questions in relation to the above, please get in touch with your usual contact at Nyman Libson Paul LLP. We are here to help you.