Videogame industry welcomes Budget tax credits

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Chancellor George Osborne has lent a helping hand to Britain's videogame industry in announcing research and development tax credits would increase by 200 per cent from April.

During his second Budget speech, Osborne also said the R&D tax credits would be raised by 225 per cent in 2012, a move which has been hailed a victory for games industry body TIGA.

The industry body spent the past year arguing the case for such tax credits with MPs, HM Treasury and the Government.

TIGA's chief executive officer Dr Richard Wilson said of Osborne's announcement: "This is a decisive victory by TIGA which will benefit not just the UK games industry but also the wider UK economy.

"TIGA’s proposals for the R&D tax credits will deliver 60%-75% more value to games studios than the current R&D tax credit regime. This could be worth around £7 million to the UK video games industry.

"This will enable studios to invest more in R&D, generate and retain new IP, and hire more development staff. Reforming the R&D tax credits along the lines proposed by TIGA will help power our high technology industry forwards."

But TIGA expressed disappointment that its much wanted tax relief - plans for which were scrapped in the Chancellor's first budget - will not be introduced.

"The Government’s failure to deliver TIGA’s Games Tax Relief is a dismal decision that displays a complete lack of imagination and one which will leave the UK video games industry swimming against the tide internationally," Dr Wilson said following the Budget.

The group has long claimed that hundreds of jobs and millions of pounds of investment would be generated if the videogame industry was granted tax relief.

The games industry contributes £1bn annually to UK GDP and some of the biggest titles in videogaming were created in Britain including Tomb Raider and Grand Theft Auto.

But the industry has faced financial problems and it was starkly felt at Realtime Worlds in Dundee which closed in September 2010. In January, US-based Activision announced it was looking to sell its development studio, Bizarre Creations in Liverpool, despite it producing critically acclaimed titles such as Blur.