'Force strong with UK film talent'

Mid Devon Star: Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne. Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne.

George Osborne has hailed the news that another Star Wars film is to be shot in Britain.

The Chancellor confirmed that Pinewood studios will be used to create another instalment of the famous franchise as he toured the set of Episode VII.

After meeting director JJ Abrams, who is currently shooting Episode VII, Mr Osborne jokingly adapted one of his favourite econo mic slogans on Twitter, writing: "A #LongTermEconomicPlan in a galaxy far far away."

Mr Osborne - whose favourite Star Wars character is apparently Han Solo - highlighted the tax relief of up to 25% offered by the coalition on film investment.

"Lucasfilm and Disney's decision to shoot the Star Wars standalone movie in the UK is testament to the incredible talent in Britain," he said.

"This will mean more jobs and more investment. It is great news for people working at Pinewood Studios, from the set designers to the carpenters.

"As Chancellor I have been determined that we back our brilliant creative industries which is why we have invested in skills and training as well as providing tax relief for films, high-end TV, animation, video games and regional theatre.

"The further changes the Government made to the film tax relief at Budget 2014 will support our highly skilled, innovative creative sectors so that they continue to thrive and encourage more films to be made in the UK."

Filming of Star Wars: Episode VII is taking place at Pinewood now, and the new standalone movie - directed by Gareth Edwards and written by Gary Whitta - will start shooting next year.

Culture Secretary Sajid Javid, who also toured the set yesterday, said: "This is great news for the UK and is further proof of the world-leading position of the UK film industry.

"We have studios, tax incentives and talent, both in front of and behind the camera, which are amongst the very best in the world.

"Given Lucasfilm's decision to film another Star Wars movie in the UK, it is clear that the Force is strong here."

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