Monday, April 30, 2012 'Republic' of telly?

Back on February 16 I wrote a post in response to press releases from the Dept of Arts, Heritage & the Gaeltacht and the Irish Film Board concerning three UK TV series that were shooting here.

The three projects - Vexed, Ripper Street and Loving Miss Hatto were all reportedly being made "with financing from Bord Scannán na hÉireann/the Irish Film Board" but the amounts of the production loans were not disclosed in the releases. Nor was there any reference to the projects' use of the Section 481 tax break.

The Film Board published in early March that Loving Miss Hatto had been awarded a production loan of €90,000 in a round dated 31 December 2011. There are no funding decisions in the online IFB database for Vexed (series 2) or Ripper Street although I believe the production loans may be €150,000 and €475,000 respectively.

There are reportedly some outstanding issues concerning crew payment on Loving Miss Hatto. It is alleged that a 12.5% pay cut was imposed on crew who are now seeking a Labour Court hearing on the matter.

It's curious that while the arrival of these projects was greeted with such fanfare the greater source of state funding was not mentioned at all.

In the case of Ripper Street the amount raised under Section 481 was €10,704,895 (approximating eligible 'Irish' spend) from a total budget in the region of €13,809,278. The cost to the exchequer in tax foregone will be approximately 41% of €10,704,895. The net benefit to the production will be approximately 28% of €10,704,895.

So, if my maths are correct, the tax break will cost the state almost ten times the IFB investment in Ripper Street... but it's not mentioned in the press releases?

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