The UK Cinema Association has this week published its submission to the ongoing Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee Inquiry into British film and high-end TV.
In July, the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee announced here an inquiry into the current state of British film and high-end TV, beginning with a call for evidence. In setting out its terms of reference, the Committee explicitly highlighted the issues currently facing the UK’s film exhibition sector as one of its key areas of interest.
In responding, the UK Cinema Association noted the issues that variously the pandemic, the cost of living crisis and most recently the screen-writers and actors’ strikes in the US had presented the sector, and the challenges that it still faced as a result. However it also pointed to the extraordinary success of films such as No Time to Die, Spider-Man No Way Home, Barbie and Oppenheimer as clear evidence that audiences were still willing to come to the cinema to see the right films on the big screen – the issue was a lack of such content, not a lack of enthusiasm for the big screen experience amongst the public.
In order to secure the future of the sector now, as well as establishing a more successful approach into the medium term, the Association called in its submission for:
- Short-term tax relief for all cinemas in the form of reduced/no VAT on cinema tickets, to allow operators to navigate the currently thin slate and challenging ‘cost of living’ issues;
- A genuine sector-wide commitment from government to support audience development for all venues and all film genres;
- Renewed efforts to strengthen the supply of well-supported and well-marketed ‘audience-friendly’ British films, something of which there has been an absolute dearth in recent years; and
- The establishment of a capital fund to help venues of all shapes and sizes to make the investments necessary to improve energy- and resource-efficiency across the sector.
The full submission is here.
The Association stands ready to discuss the points made here and the wider context with the Committee, which is expected to begin taking further evidence early in 2024.