Sir Lenny Henry leads celebrity calls for tax break to boost diversity in entertainment industry

Celebrities including Jodie Whittaker and Emma Thompson have also joined the call for tax reliefs to promote greater diversity behind the camera in TV and film

Lenny Henry (Getty)

Sir Lenny Henry has hand delivered a letter to Number 10 Downing Street, calling for a ‘Representation Tax Relief’ with the aim of boosting diversity behind the camera in TV and film industries.

Advertisement

The letter was also signed by Emma Thompson, Doctor Who’s Jodie Whittaker, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Thandie Newton and David Oyelowo, while actor Adrian Lester joined Henry for delivery to the Prime Minister’s official residence.

Henry hopes that the tax breaks will allow for better representation behind the camera, boosting the number of women, disabled people, and people from black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) backgrounds.

The letter describes an industry “in crisis” due to the lack of diversity amongst those working behind the camera, stressing that tax reliefs are “necessary”.

“True representation of the diversity of the UK isn’t just about what we see on our screens but also the people writing, directing, filming and working behind the camera,” the letter reads.

Citing the likes of Amma Asante, Sally Wainwright, Steve McQueen and Sharon Horgan, the letter adds: “[The UK’s] talented women, BAME and disabled creatives… enrich the creativity of the UK and add to our cultural heritage, but unfortunately they continue to be the exception rather than the rule”.

It continues: “We believe the implementation of Representation Tax Relief is necessary because diversity in important sections of the UK film and television industry is in crisis.”

Advertisement

You can read about Radio Times’ campaign about the underrepresentation of female screenwriters, #WomensWords, here.