UK needs to support creative industries, says head of TIGA


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The Independent Tech

Britain needs to move away from financial services and support the creative industries, the head of a leading videogame body said today.

After chancellor George Osbourne painted a picture of rising unemployment and declining growth, Dr Richard Wilson, the CEO of trade body TIGA, issued a statement urging the government to pay more attention to business sectors in which the UK has a competitive advantage.

Osborne unveiled a package of growth measures in today's Autumn Statement. He wants to boost GDP by encouraging investment in infrastructure, small companies and the regions and getting young people into work.

But Dr Wilson said: “Today’s Autumn statement confirmed the severity of the challenge facing the UK. Economic Growth is flat and disappointing. Unemployment, including Youth unemployment, is rising. Productivity is weak. Borrowing is higher. The Government plans to kick-start infrastructure investment and help small businesses access finance is of course welcome.

“The Government has yet to spell out a clear strategy for re-balancing the economy away from Financial Services towards business investment and export focussed industries. The UK Government needs to support those sectors where we have a competitive advantage: high technology industries and creative industries, including the video games sector.”

He said the Government needed to introduce games tax relief, a long-standing aim for TIGA, to help UK videogame companies compete with countries such as Canada where such incentives are already available.

Dr Wilson also called for a creative content fund, expanding the scope of R&D tax credits to include the cost of IP protection, design and premises.

“Introducing TIGA’s plan to enable small businesses to offset training costs against corporation tax would enhance productivity,” he added. “With economic growth faltering and the Eurozone in crisis, the Government must implement an effective strategy for promoting growth in the March 2012 budget."