Videogame industry celebrates tax relief in Budget

  • @davidcrookes

Britain's videogame developers have welcomed today's decision to give a tax relief to the gaming industry.

On the day retailer GAME announced its intention to enter into administration, Chancellor George Osborne said the UK games development industry would help to turn Britain into Europe's technology centre.

Industry trade body TIGA has battled for six years for tax relief and, in an interview with The Independent yesterday, its CEO Dr Richard Wilson said he was hopeful it would have been delivered.

He has hailed today's announcement of an intention to introduce tax relief as "brilliant".

TIGA once achieved its aim when then Labour chancellor Alistair Darling announced plans for tax relief in March 2010.

But Conservative chancellor George Osborne said the original plans had been “poorly targeted” and scrapped them, a move Labour MP Tom Watson called “a reprehensible decision based on ignorance”

Dr Richard said today: "This is a brilliant decision by the Government and terrific news for the UK video games industry.

"It is also a decisive victory won by TIGA through audacity, determination and endurance.

"Like a boxer knocked down by his opponent, we refused to accept defeat and kept getting back in the ring. This victory will benefit not just the UK games development and digital publishing sector but also the wider UK economy.

"Tax relief for the video games sector will increase employment, innovation and investment in the UK video games industry."

He said research showed that Games Tax Relief should generate and safeguard 4,661 direct and indirect jobs and £188 million in investment expenditure by studios.

TIGA estimates that it will 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.

Developers have lined up to welcome the news. Colin Anderson, Managing Director at Denki in Dundee, a city which has been rocked by videogame developer closures including Realtime Worlds, said: "Games Tax Relief will stimulate much needed investment and innovation in one of the UK's leading knowledge based industries."

Philip Oliver, CEO Blitz Games Studios, in Leamington Spa which is one of gaming's biggest hubs, said: "It is fantastic that the Government is supporting TIGA’s Games Tax Relief and we are sure that this measure will grow the industry, create more jobs and lead to higher tax revenues for Government in the future. It is a great result for the games industry and for the UK economy."

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