Sir Lenny makes diversity tax break announcement

Birmingham City University’s Sir Lenny Henry Centre for Media Diversity is carrying out new research to lobby government to introduce tax breaks that will encourage film and TV companies to put diversity at the centre of new productions.

Sir Lenny henry at the anniversary event
Sir Lenny henry at the anniversary event

Dudley-born Sir Lenny, the comedian, actor, activist, author and Chancellor of Birmingham City University, announced the news to guests at an event marking the second anniversary of the centre.

Developing research, data, and evidence around the positive impact of diversity tax breaks follows meetings between Sir Lenny and Downing Street, the Mayor of London, Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and the Treasury.

Guests at the anniversary event, hosted at the University’s Parkside building, included Laurence Olivier award winning actor Adrian Lester, Soul II Soul’s Jazzie B, senior executives from Channel 4, BBC, and ITV, and journalists, producers, editors and academics from across the UK.

Sir Lenny said: “What I have learnt is that we must turn protest into progress. We need to transform our complaints about the lack of diversity into real tangible results.

“We’re doing great work, including consultancy for the Financial Times, Channel 4 and the BBC.

“This centre has proved that change will happen – people are taking notice, broadcasters, newspapers and trade unions are all using our work to improve their policies and increase diversity.”

Since its inception almost two years ago, Birmingham City University has funded nine key research projects through its Sir Lenny Henry Centre for Media Diversity, including a collaboration with Cardiff University and work with Channel 4.

The Centre has published important research findings, examining the portrayal of black people in UK documentaries, the use of the term BAME in broadcast media, and how entertainment trade unions should provide better support for their members of colour.

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