We’ve been following the story of tax relief for the UK games industry quite closely here at TSA. We covered news that the Lords Communications Commitee backed the plan for tax incentives, we covered news that the UK games industry provided 70% more revenue than the UK box office. Other stories included the call for a UK Games Council before the next election and Alastair Darling’s plans to effectively ignore the UK games industry.
The latest development in this saga appears to bring some good news. Tom Watson – MP for West Bromwich East and creator of the very popular Gamers’ Voice Facebook group – has now managed to get MPs from Labour, the Tories, Lib Dem and the SNP to “support a motion calling on the Chancellor of the Exchequer to introduce tax relief for the video games industry”.
This is Early Day Motion 934. Watson has also asked members of Gamers’ Voice to contact their local MP and urge them to back EDM 934. The full text reads:
That this House congratulates the UK video games industry on its contribution to the country’s economy; notes that the video games industry contributes over £1 billion annually to the UK’s gross domestic product, generates £400 million for the Exchequer in tax revenues and supports 28,000 jobs; recognises the threat to the UK games industry that comes from its main competitors including the USA, Canada and South Korea who all offer major tax breaks at either national state or regional level for game production or other substantial government financial support; welcomes the research of TIGA the trade association representing the UK games industry, into games tax relief, which shows that a tax break would create or save 3,550 graduate level jobs or the vocational equivalent, and increase and protect £415 million in new and saved tax receipts over five years; and calls on the Government to implement a tax break for game production in this year’s Budget.
Gordon Brown has recently sung the praises of the UK games industry and even went so far as to say we were “leading the way in Europe”. So, could this be the first step towards tax incentives for an industry that provides billions in revenues and employs thousands?