The Wombles, Bob the Builder and Rastamouse could be paying a visit to Westminster as Animation UK’s call for tax breaks gets louder.
The lobby group is hoping to march on the government in the next few weeks, dressed as life-size characters created by the companies it represents.
Westminster MP Mark Field – who wrote the foreword to Animation UK’s report – has come on board as patron of the campaign, and group chairman Oli Hyatt told Broadcast the march would encourage those in government to respond.
“We are struggling to get acknowledgement from them, despite all the publicity we have had,” he said. “We have asked for their help and we want to know whether they will give it.”
Asked at the Emap Media Summit this week for his stance on the issue, culture minister Ed Vaizey said: “Every sector wants tax breaks, but we will certainly listen to what they have to say.”
Animation UK also has meetings arranged with Vaizey and Lib Dem culture spokesman Don Foster in late November/early December, but the new shadow culture secretary Harriet Harman has yet to respond to the report she has been sent.
Meanwhile, In the Night Garden and Teletubbies creator Ragdoll Productions has joined the lobby group. Founder and creative director Anne Wood said: “My concern is for young producers, writers and animators who may never have opportunities unless something is done now.
“It would be a great loss to children, but also a great loss to our wider culture if that rich vein of talent was lost. I embrace Animation UK’s aim of enabling British children’s animation businesses to compete internationally.”
Production union Bectu and the Screenwriters Guild are also throwing their weight behind the campaign, with Bectu general secretary Gerry Morrissey warning the industry is “sinking fast”.
He added: “Tax credits have been crucial in helping the film business maintain world-class skills in the UK, and we call on the government to offer the same assistance to the animation sector.”