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Financial Legislation

Laws governing film finance, including government subsidies and tax breaks

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The financing of the British film industry has long been the subject of specific legislation. The National Film Finance Corporation was established by the Cinematograph Film Production (Special Loans) Act 1949. The Cinematograph Film Production (Special Loans) Act 1952 gave the National Film Finance Corporation the power to borrow from sources other than the Board of Trade.

Other legislation dealing with film finance were the Cinematograph Film Production (Special Loans) Act 1954 and the Films Acts 1970 and 1980. The Cinematograph Films Council was established by the Cinematograph Films Act 1948, but like the National Film Finance Corporation, the Council was abolished by the Films Act 1985.

The Cinematograph Films Act 1957 established the British Film Fund Agency and put on a statutory footing the formerly voluntary levy on exhibitors known as the 'Eady levy'. Eady money was to be paid to the British Film Fund Agency, which in turn was responsible for making payments to British film-makers, the Children's Film Foundation, the National Film Finance Corporation, the British Film Institute and towards training film-makers. The Film Levy Finance Act 1981 consolidated the provisions relating to the Agency and the exhibitors' levy. The Agency was wound up in 1988 pursuant to a statutory order made under the Films Act 1985.

The British Film Institute used to obtain its funding from grants made by the Privy Council out of the Cinematograph Fund established under the Sunday Entertainments Act 1932 and also from the proceeds of subscriptions, sales and rentals of films. The British Film Institute Act 1949 allows for grants of money from Parliament to be made to the British Film Institute as the Lord President of the Privy Council thinks fit.

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