The Scottish Mail on Sunday

Dolittle’s £21m tax boost for studio

- By Christian Sylt

UNIVERSAL Studios has been handed £21million by the taxman for choosing Britain as the filming location for Dolittle, its latest movie, which stars Robert Downey Jr as the Welsh vet who can talk to animals.

The film was released on Friday and features animals voiced by A-list actors including Emma Thompson and Ralph Fiennes. It was made at Pinewood Studios in Buckingham­shire and filmed on location in Wales, Windsor and Cumbria.

Movie budgets are usually kept secret as studios tend to absorb the cost of individual films in their overall expenses. But those films made in Britain must be consolidat­ed in single companies to benefit from film tax relief. This allows production firms to claim back up to 25 per cent of their costs in Britain provided that at least 10 per cent of the total was spent in the country.

Filming in the UK keeps local staff in work and benefits related sectors.

Universal subsidiary Voyage Production­s’ accounts for the year to June 30, 2018 reveal the spell it cast on Britain’s economy as 189 staff were paid £8.3million. This brought its overheads to £106.8 million.

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