The UK games industry said today that the commitment to introduce a 25 per cent tax relief for video games development, animation and high end television production would provide a powerful boost to the creative industries.
TIGA, the association representing the sector, also hailed the decision to provide match funding for training and development for the creative industries, but emphasised that resources needed to be allocated to management and leadership development and not simply to workforce training. TIGA made the comments in response to the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement in the House of Commons.
Dr Richard Wilson, CEO of TIGA, said: "Tax breaks for games production will ensure that the UK remains a world leader in the high technology video games development industry. A single 25 per cent level of relief will be simple to administer and economically impactful. Yet we will have to monitor the actions of our competitors: the province of Quebec in Canada already boasts a 37.5 per cent level of tax relief.
"Tax breaks for the creative industries will boost production in games development, animation and high end tv production. They will contribute to a rebalancing of the UK economy away from an over-reliance on public sector employment and financial services towards highly skilled, export focused industries.”
"The provision of match funding for training and development in the creative industries could enhance productivity. It could also help to promote more sustainable companies, particularly if managers from small and medium-sized enterprises can draw on the funds to develop the vital business and strategic skills necessary for achieving sustained growth.”
TIGA research has previously indicated that Games Tax Relief should generate and safeguard: 4,661 direct and indirect jobs; £188 million in investment expenditure by studios; increase the games development sector’s contribution to UK GDP by £283 million; generate £172 million in new and protected tax receipts to HM Treasury, and could cost just £96 million over five years. Jason Kingsley OBE, TIGA Chairman and CEO and Creative Director at Rebellion, said: "TIGA’s aim is to strengthen the UK games industry and secure an effective Games Tax Relief. TIGA welcomes the decision to introduce a 25 per cent level of relief Today’s measures will support the creative industries and are good for the wider economy.”
TIGA also welcomed the following measures in the Autumn Statement:A reduction in the main corporation tax to 21 per cent in April 2014; Measures to promote ultra-fast broadband for cities including Brighton, Cambridge and Oxford, where clusters of games developers are based; £600 million science research spending.
TIGA added that the increase in capital expenditure by £5 billion and the increase in allowances for investment in plant and machinery was sensible.
The growth in UKTI’s resources by 25 per cent per annum could help to support exporters. However, TIGA stressed that UKTI should use its Trade Access Programme scheme more flexibly: rather than simply giving grants to developers to exhibit at overseas tradeshows it should also assist exporters with their travel costs. This would enable many smaller games businesses to attend overseas shows and boost their ability to export.