On 6th November, Sir Lenny Henry hand delivered a letter to Number 10 Downing Street calling for the use of tax reliefs to promote greater diversity behind the camera in the British film industry. The letter was also signed by fellow luminaries Emma Thompson, Jodie Whittaker, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Thandie Newton and David Oyelowo.
In an interview with Sky News, Henry reeled off a slew of statistics to support the need for better representation of women, ethnic minorities and people with disabilities as writers, directors and producers of film.
Quoting BFI figures, Henry revealed that only 2% of British TV is made by black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) directors. He contrasts this with the population of London – approximately 40% BAME. Only 3% working in British film production and post-production classify as BAME.
0.3% of the UK film workforce have disabilities, and only 4.5% of TV production. Just 13.6% of working film directors in the UK are women.
In our role supporting those in the creative industries to make the most of Creative Industry Tax Reliefs (CITR), we know more than most how the tax system is used as a tool to promote and support British culture.
We extend our wholehearted support to Sir Lenny Henry and his co-signees in calling for the tax relief to be used to promote greater diversity behind the camera. It’s high time the government used all the tools at its disposal to develop a richer film and television industry in which we can all recognise ourselves.