This morning’s news regarding the government’s plans to ignore the UK games industry by refusing to give tax breaks, despite it being larger than the UK film industry, is nothing short of a huge disappointment; and we’re used to disappointment at the hands of politicians.
TIGA – the trade association representing the UK’s games industry – has released a statement whereby its CEO voices his concern at the government’s lack of support for the industry. Normally I would just give you a couple of important quotes regarding the issue but seeing as Richard Wilson addresses the real issues in his response, I thought I’d let you read the majority of it:
We have consistently warned the Government that without the introduction of a Games Tax Relief the video games development sector will likely decline by 5% each year over each of the next five years. Conversely, if a Games Tax Relief is introduced, then the industry will eventually enjoy annual growth of 4%. In addition, Games Tax Relief will more than pay for itself. Over five years the tax measure would cost £192 million but would deliver £415 million in tax receipts. Games Tax Relief would also secure 3,550 highly skilled graduate level jobs.
The Government has shown itself willing to support the UK Film Industry through tax relief, the oil industry with tax breaks, declining manufacturing businesses with loans and grants, and has spent billions bailing out the banking industry. The UK videogames industry is inherently successful, highly skilled and bursting with potential. It is the entertainment industry for the 21st century. The UK video games industry has the potential to be world beating. Yet we cannot will the end without providing the means: the Government must invest in the industry if it wants it to remain world leading.
TIGA is convinced that the games industry has the potential to be one of the UK’s leading digital industries as we emerge from the recession. We will redouble our efforts to convince HM Treasury and other policymakers of the need to invest in our sector in the form of Games Tax Relief, more generous R&D tax credits and other fiscal measures
So, not only is our government unwilling to provide aid for a potentially world-leading position within the games industry, but they also refuse to create new jobs and cultivate some of this country’s young and talented citizens. What happens when the UK games industry slips further down the list of largest video game industries in the world? More and more developers will leave for other territories where they are given support, nurtured and encouraged to create original, quality games. What on Earth needs to be done in order for those in power to take the industry seriously?