Mayor unveils plans to address skills shortages in London’s film industry and bump up investment

Rebecca Smith
Somerset House hosts an annual open-air film festival in August
Somerset House hosts an annual open-air film festival in August (Source: Getty)

London mayor Sadiq Khan has announced his plans to make the capital the "world's most film-friendly city" - including the launch of a Cultural Infrastructure Plan.

He will deliver a new skills strategy, alongside Creative Skillset and Film London, to identify shortages within London's film industry, establish ways into the sector for talented creatives and encourage a range of people from diverse backgrounds to enter the industry by developing talent pipelines.

The mayor will launch his first Cultural Infrastructure Plan - to identify what skills are needed to maintain London's position as a "cultural powerhouse" - in its entirety next year. He has previously spoken of the need for London to plan for the future with arts and culture as it does with transport.

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Khan has also fleshed out plans for a bumper new film studio complex in Dagenham, which the mayor says should enable London to bid successfully for more overseas film productions and attract more investment.

He's appointed consultants SQW, BBP Regeneration and Richard Miller from the University of Hertfordshire to undertake the feasibility study for what would be London's largest new film studios in Dagenham East.

Speaking to industry leaders at the Double Negative Visual Effects in Soho today, Khan said the capital can't afford to be complacent in times of "unprecedented political and institutional change", as well as global competition.

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He said:

From upcoming films Star Wars: The Last Jedi and The Mummy to the recent successes of Bridget Jones' Baby and Brotherhood, the capital’s film industry is currently enjoying record investment and I’m committed to making sure that it continues to flourish, making London the best, most inviting place for film production in the world.

In order to achieve this, we need to ensure we continue to attract the brightest, most diverse creative talent to London and we need to invest in the kind of physical infrastructure that will ensure our city remains competitive on the global stage.

The film industry contributed £1.2bn to London's economy in 2016 and figures released last week found that the UK film industry - much of it based in the capital - reported inward investment went up 18 per cent to £1.35bn last year.

At the moment, London is the third busiest city for film production globally, behind Los Angeles and New York.

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