NEWS RELEASE
Release time: Embargoed 00.01 Monday 19 May 2008

TAX credits should be considered to support vital Public Service Broadcasting (PSB) claims the Chartered Institute of Journalists (CIoJ).

With just a month before the consultation closes on Ofcom’s second review of PSB, CIoJ general secretary Dominic Cooper said: “Government urgently need to look for ways to support PSB, because although people don’t know that phrase, they value the local news and regional programmes it provides.

“Broadcasters need incentive to maintain their PSB commitment at this crucial time. Our suggestion is that TV and Radio companies are allowed to offset the cost of news gathering and presenting against their tax bills.

“Government stepped in to help the struggling film industry because they recognised the value for employment at home and for coverage of British talent around the world. I see no difference to the way they can provide support to Public Service Broadcasting.”

In the Consultation document, Ofcom recognise that commercial stations are going to have great difficulty funding news and regional programmes. In April, ITV also said it was considering handing back its licence because providing PSB is becoming untenable.

Mr Cooper said: “Our primary concern is maintaining quality in news and regional programming which should be accessible to the majority. There are people who are never going to afford subscription services or learn how to use new systems, when they are happy with the old.”

Research by Ofcom’s consultants, Oliver and Ohibaum, acknowledge the future models for PSB they have envisaged, are not clear as broadcasters head from analogue into the digital information age.

“The water is being muddied with talk of taking from the BBC licence fee, but this is not helpful when we need some stability. The BBC remains a respected national and international institution at a time of flux, so why tamper with it?” added Mr Cooper.

“We are now writing again to all MPs to ask them to drive forward this proposal as an interim way to support full access to vital information. Change is fine but not if the channels of information are put in jeopardy.”

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Note to Editors

Phase one of Ofcom’s second Public Service Broadcasting Review closes at 5pm on 19th June 2008 and is available at http://www.ofcom.org.uk/tv/psb_review

Dominic Cooper is available for interview and can be contacted on 020 7252 1187 or 07803 507366, email dc@cioj.co.uk

The Government introduced a new tax relief for the production of British films, in Chapter 3 of the Finance Act 2006 which received Royal Assent on 19 July 2006 and in SI 1050/2007 (The Corporation Tax (Taxation of Films) (Transitional Provisions) Regulations 2007 (PDF 117K)

According to the UK Film Council, films that cost up to £20 million, the Film Production Company (FPC) can claim an enhanced deduction of 100% with a payable cash element of 25% of UK qualifying film production expenditure. For films that cost over £20 million, the FPC can claim an enhanced deduction of 80% with a payable cash element of 20% of UK qualifying film production expenditure. http://www.ukfilmcouncil.org.uk/taxrelief

The UK now has a government unit to deal with the corporation tax affairs of companies which are eligible for film tax relief. The unit, which is part of HM Revenue & Customs, works mostly with special purpose vehicles established to make a single film. The Manchester Film Tax Credit Unit can be contacted at RandD.Manchester@hmrc.gsi.gov.uk or tel: +44 (0)161 288 6118.

Formed in 1884, the Chartered Institute of Journalists (CIoJ) is the world’s oldest established professional body for journalists, and a representative voice of media and communications professionals throughout the UK and the Commonwealth.

Issued by Liz Justice, CIOJ Media Relations Manager, 07780 661926

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