Osborne hails UK Star Wars filming
The news that the next Star Wars epic is to be filmed in the UK with the creation of 3,000 jobs has been welcomed by Chancellor George Osborne.
Mr Osborne, who is in the thick of campaigning for the General Election, described it as "great news for the UK".
He chose today, May 4, which is dubbed Star Wars Day for fans of the George Lucas series, and a visit to Ealing Studios to confirm the move.
Ealing Studios has been home to British film classics such as Kind Hearts And Coronets, through to TV favourites such as Downton Abbey and recent big screen films such as the Avengers and Godzilla.
Parts of Star Wars: Episode VII were also filmed at the west London venue.
Mr Osborne said: "We are here at Ealing Studios, which is of course a great part of Britain's film making past but it is also central to Britain's film making future.
"Some fantastic movies are being shot here and also video games are being produced here.
"The great news for the UK as a whole is that the new Star Wars movie is going to be made in the UK. It is going to create 3,000 jobs. It is what happens when you have an economic plan that is working and a film-making industry with real skills and talent.
"There could not be better news on May the Fourth Be With You Day."
The new Star Wars episode is due to be filmed at Pinewood Studios. Tony Orsten, chief executive of The Imaginarium at Ealing Studios, took Mr Osborne on a tour of the filming unit which was creating a video game.
Mr Orsten described the Star Wars announcement as "a fantastic opportunity for the craft and people who work in the UK and the creative industries to expand because people want to work here."
He said: "The good news for the UK film industry is always when people come here to make more movies or we make movies ourselves. The industry has grown out of all proportion, really."
On the Tories' tax plans, Mr Osborne said: "We have a balanced plan to go on growing our economy and creating jobs to make sure that working people keep more of their income tax free.
"Today we have set out how we will increase tax-free personal allowance to £12,500 and increase the threshold in which people pay the higher rates to £50,000.
"This is central to our approach which is that you make work pay."