(Source: telegraph.co.uk) Animation in the country “is at a tipping point: it either survives or dies”, industry leaders wrote in a joint letter to The Daily Telegraph.

Shows such as Wallace & Gromit, Bob the Builder and Noddy have made England “a recognised centre for animation”, they said.

But they forecast: “Within a matter of years, we will not be producing any such fantastic properties as a result of tax breaks and government incentives in other countries.”

They are calling on the Government to extend the Film Tax Credit to animation companies working on television programmes so that they have a “level playing field” with those in countries like Ireland, France and Canada.

“We must remain competitive, and change must come soon, before talent leaks abroad, taking the industry with it,” they argued.

Simple economics meant that process was already happening, said one of the signatories, Miles Bullough, head of broadcast at Aardman Animations, said

Of about 90 jobs on a recent CGI television project, Chop Socky Chooks, Bristol-based Aardman had placed 70 in Canada for tax reasons, he said.

“It was a lost opportunity for the UK,” he said.

“Unless the Government are going to extend this tax credit, jobs are going to go overseas, and it’s going to make the UK animation industry extinct for television in less than five years,” he warned.

Studios like Aardman, home to Wallace & Gromit, have only made it big in film after years producing characters for television like Morph those in the Creature Comforts series, he noted.

Failing to extend the Film Tax Credit, worth up to 25 per cent of a production’s cost, would meant such grassroots withered and died in the face of international competition, he said.

“Instead of growing up watching Sean the Sheep, children are going to be watching North American, French and Asian animations,” he forecast.

Signatories to the letter, which also included the Howard Litton, head of children’s channel Nickelodeon UK, said animation was worth “millions” to Britain’s economy. It is estimated to be worth £40 billion worldwide.

A spokesman for the Department of Culture, Media and Sport said: “Animated feature films made in the UK are eligible for the same culturally-based tax breaks as live action films.”

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