Covid-19: Film and TV Quarantine Exemptions

Northern Ireland – in the House of Commons on 2nd September 2020.

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Photo of Joy Morrissey Joy Morrissey Conservative, Beaconsfield

If he will hold discussions with the Northern Ireland Executive on implementing exemptions from covid-19 quarantine rules for international film and TV productions in Northern Ireland similar to those recently implemented in England.

Photo of Robin Walker Robin Walker The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Scotland, The Minister of State, Northern Ireland Office

Self-isolation exemptions have been in place since 5 July for the whole of the United Kingdom for all international cast and crew working on qualifying TV and film productions. We have worked closely with the Northern Ireland Executive and the film and TV industry, which has been a major success in Northern Ireland and represents a significant part of its economy estimated to be worth £270 million a year. This has seen important projects such as “The Northman” and “Line of Duty” restart filming, bringing significant investment to Northern Ireland’s economy.

Photo of Joy Morrissey Joy Morrissey Conservative, Beaconsfield

Does my hon. Friend agree that the quarantine exemption arrangements could be the catalyst for reigniting the Northern Ireland film industry, where 49 locations were used for “Game of Thrones”, including Winterfell. Although the days of House Stark have passed, I hope that the exemption will allow for Northern Ireland to continue to be a beacon for the film industry across the world.

Photo of Robin Walker Robin Walker The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Scotland, The Minister of State, Northern Ireland Office

My hon. Friend is absolutely right. As I said, over the summer we introduced the exemptions. We absolutely recognise what a crucial and important sector this is, and the benefits of its success can be seen across Northern Ireland, not least for the tourism industry. Local success stories such as “Game of Thrones” and “Derry Girls” benefit every part of Northern Ireland. Programmes such as “The Fall” have firmly established Northern Ireland as an ideal destination for film and TV projects. The restart of filming in significant projects shows that the industry can continue to achieve global success.