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Brussels, 11 December 2007

State aid: Commission approves UK film support schemes

The European Commission has approved a number of UK Lottery-funded film support schemes under the EU state aid rules until 31 December 2012. The schemes, which provide over £22 million (€30.6 million) of support for films each year, are administered by the UK Film Council, Scottish Screen, Northern Ireland Screen and the Film Agency for Wales. They are aimed at supporting culturally British films and the Commission concluded that they are in line with the EU state aid rules on film support.

EU Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes commented: “Many of us are touched in some way by the films we watch, whether in cinemas, through video-on-demand, on DVD, on television ... even perhaps on our mobile phones. Therefore, I am pleased to be in a position to approve the UK support schemes for films showing aspects of European culture, as they are in line with EU state aid rules.”

Of the 12 schemes approved, the largest are the three administered by the UK Film Council. These are the Premiere Fund, the New Cinema Fund and the Development Fund, which all provide funding for feature film projects.

All films which receive support from the four UK film support bodies are required to satisfy the definition of a culturally British film, which was originally assessed by the Commission in its approval of the UK film tax incentive scheme in November 2006 (see IP/06/1611). In addition to the production of films, the schemes also support the development, distribution and promotion of culturally British films.

The schemes have been approved until 31 December 2012 on the basis of a commitment by the UK authorities to implement any changes required, if the relevant state aid rules are amended during this period. The Commission’s Cinema Communication, which governs EU state aid rules for support for film and audiovisual production, has been applied in assessing all the schemes. In June 2007, the Cinema Communication was extended until 31 December 2009 at the latest (see IP/07/820).

The non-confidential version of the decision will be made available under the case number NN6/06 in the State aid Register on DG Competition's website once any confidentiality issues have been resolved. New publications of State aid decisions on the internet and in the Official Journal are listed in the State aid Weekly e-News.

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