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Opinion

Darling Set To Ignore UK Games Industry

Ignorance from those who need to help...

On Monday there were reports that Tom Watson MP was working on supporing the UK games industry further by introducing the idea of a UK Game Council. Now, thanks to Alistair Darling – Chancellor of the Exchequer – it looks like the UK games iundustry will not be receiving aid in the form of tax breaks.

Despite generating more money than the UK film industry, which does receive government aid, the games industry is to be ignored once again. According to a report in The Guardian, Britain once had the third largest video game industry in the world – behind America and Japan. It has since slipped due to many countries such as Canada, South Korea and France, receiving tax breaks and support from their respective governments.

June 2009 saw the final ‘Digital Britain’ report from Lord Carter and even this proposed a scheme to support the games industry. It has obviously been ignored too. Richard Wilson – chief executive of TIGA – personally handed Number 10 a petition on Monday. The list of names included members of some of the UK’s leading games studios.

The reasons behind not agreeing to tax breaks for the industry appear to be rooted in the UK’s ever increasing debt, which currently sits at over £800 billion. The tax scheme would have cost the government an estimated £192 million over 5 years, but would have generated £450 million in investments. This would obviously generate more jobs and with the UK unemployment rates currently soaring, this is not to be scoffed at.

It sounds like those in power need to be reminded that some of the world’s leading studios reside within our borders: Media Molecule, Rocksteady, Realtime Worlds, Frontier, Rebellion, Lionhead, Rockstar, Jagex, Criterion, Relentless and Black Rock to name a few.

How can the UK ever expect to lead in the industry if the our own government shows little faith and support for something that we are extremely good at?

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