Baroness Floella Benjamin writes…Tax break for children’s programmes is great news

I am overjoyed with the wonderful news that the Chancellor has extended tax breaks to children’s television productions. This is something I have campaigned on for years as Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Children’s Media and the Arts. I have asked questions and spoken on this issue in the House of Lords, supported by Pact (Producers Alliance for Cinema & Television) and the Children’s Media Foundation.

I always say, ‘Childhood lasts a lifetime’ and we can all remember our favourite children’s television programme, they hold fond memories, which are part of our formative years.

But even though children’s programmes are much loved, they are often undervalued and those who contribute to this sector of the creative industries are rarely credited.

I strongly believe children, should be exposed to their culture. Their view of society, through their media experiences, especially UK-produced drama and documentaries, specifically made for them, is vital. And yet production of these type of programmes has been in decline over the last decade or more.

We already have a tax break for animation, so this new tax incentive to support all types of children’s television programming, will be hugely beneficial to the nation’s children’s audience and to our export market. It will also give much needed support to the UK children’s production industry, including our writers, actors, designers and technicians.

Hopefully this announcement will also encourage all the major broadcasters to start commissioning UK- home grown children’s productions- once again, rather than just leaving it up to the BBC to provide for our children’s long term creative well being.

So overall, I am thrilled that the Chancellor has finally recognised the need to support this part of our creative industry and I will be celebrating this welcome change for a long time to come.

* Floella Benjamin is a Liberal Democrat member of the House of Lords

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  • I know nothing about this particular tax break but I agree with much of what Floella says in this article.

    US cultural imperialism invading our children’s TV, animation and computer games has not been a good thing.

    Although I am sure that the the free market fanatics will tell us that there is a great cultural benefit from ‘Grand Theft Auto’ and the like.

    I also agree with Floella that there has been a neglect of creative industries because governments of all stripes seem to be stuck to seeing the world in terms of the employment and industrial patterns of the 1930s. Which is very odd when you consider how UK creative talents have been fantastically successful worldwide over the last 50 years.

    Maybe I am biased as someone who grew up with Bill and Ben, Captain Pugwash, Ivor the Engine etc.

  • Ruth Bright 4th Dec '14 - 4:33pm

    Floella, wow, the woman is a legend.
    She reminds us Lib Dems of a certain age of our lost youth with the Gang of Four – no not Roy, Shirley, Bill and David but Humpty, Hamble, Big and Little Ted!

  • Tsar Nicolas 6th Dec '14 - 11:32am

    @John Tilley

    You are right about American cultural imperialism, but British TV still produces some gems, like ‘Horrible Histories.’ One of the few shows to suss out the fact that 5/11 was indeed an inside job.

    That’s 5/11, not 9/11.

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