The 48-year-old Sexy Beast star said a decision to close tax loopholes on British-made films in 2004 had a disastrous effect on the industry.
He said he wanted to shoot his latest film – an adaptation of Sweeney Todd – in London, but it was too expensive.
“It actually starts to dishearten you, it breaks your heart a little bit,” Winstone said. He added that the film was shot in Romania, despite the fact it is set in London. “It’s about London and I want to make it here, but it would cost two or three times more to make it here. The money comes out of the country and goes somewhere else.
That’s just ridiculous that such a London movie should be filmed abroad, and it’s happening more and more in the UK, particularly in Scotland too. There are a ream of Scottish based movies, or movies to film in Scotland, and they are either filming in foreign locations or thinking about moving.
Winstone added: “Our TV is the best in the world but thanks to the government we have to make films in other countries. “It seems that when a man who wants to make lots of money finds a tax loophole to make films, the government doesn’t like that. “Each time a film doesn’t get made, 400-500 people are out of work – people who pay their taxes. “These are people from the office and administration staff right up to the director. “If you’re making five or six or seven films a year, that’s a lot of people who are paying their taxes, so the government is losing revenue. I don’t see the logic in that.”
Strong points. The Government counter with the fact that it was a loophole and the UK film industry is internationally renowned. What for? What the hell for? Harry Potter filming in Scotland, yes, they’re moving the next movie to Europe. Well there is Love Actually, Four Weddings and a Funeral and About a Boy…then you’re back to Ealing and Hammer for movies of quality. Okay, there are others, but the point I’m making here is that these movies are either kicked forward by a big star, foreign backing or a selling point to be made in Britain, because then the film is British. Our film industry is hardly renowned, it’s crumbling.