British filmmakers have given qualified support to a new government plan for tax incentives announced Wednesday. Under it, relatively low-budget films ($36 million or less) will qualify for 20-percent tax relief, while films with budgets above that amount will receive 16 percent. Under the proposal, producers would be required to spend 25 percent of their budget in Britain in order to qualify for the tax breaks -- a proposal that was warmly received by U.K. filmmakers. Tim Willis, director of film for PACT, the independent producers' trade body in Britain, was quoted by the Guardian newspaper as saying, "We believe that the government's intention to encourage the sustainable production of British films provides the possibility for transformation of the independent production sector." However, he expressed concern about how the plan might be regarded by the European Union, which bars state aid for film productions. "We will lobby hard to ensure that the technical obstacle which has been raised can be overcome," Willis said. But Andrea Calderwood, vice chairman of PACT, said in a statement that she was concerned that the British tax-incentive plan might "seriously endanger the prospects for British and European productions, while giving maximum tax advantages to U.S. studio productions."
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