Tiga urged the Conservative Party to support measures to encourage investment in research and development (R&D), including a tax break for games production, and to back policies to increase the supply of skilled people available to work in the digital sectors, including cuts in tuition fees for mathematics and computer science undergraduates. Tiga made the comments as part of its response to the Conservative Party's Creative Industries Review Group which is being led by Greg Dyke.
Richard Wilson, CEO of Tiga, said:
If the UK is to be a global centre for the digital industries then we need to create an environment in which business is relatively lightly regulated, the tax burden is comparatively light, simple and stable, and investment in R&D is encouraged.
With specific reference to the video games industry, the Conservative Partys Review Group should support a tax break for games production, similar to the European Union approved French tax credit. This would help to ensure that the UK video games development sector remains world beating. Industry research predicts that if a 20% production tax credit was introduced, investment would increase by 220 million over five years, generating a further 1,600 graduate jobs over the same period. This tax break would cost HM Treasury 150 million over five years.
Tiga also made a number of recommendations concerning education and skills to the Review Group, including:
Stronger financial incentives to attract the best graduates to teach in schools.
More flexibility in the national curriculum to give schools the freedom to teach subjects such as computer science.
A career in the video games industry should be promoted in school, at least in part to encourage more young people to stick with science, technology, engineering and mathematics subjects.
In higher education, tuition fees for mathematics and computer science students should be reduced in order to increase the supply of graduates in these areas.
Cuts in computer science courses should be reversed.
Richard Wilson concluded:
Just as Tiga responds to Government consultation documents, so we reply to opposition parties requests for information and policy input. We hope that Greg Dykes Review Group and ultimately the Conservative Partys Shadow Culture, Media and Sport team, will respond positively to Tigas proposals.
Notes to editors:
1. Tiga is the national trade association that represents games developers in the UK and in Europe. We have 150 members, the majority of whom are either independent games developers or in-house publisher owned developers. We also have outsourcing companies, technology businesses and universities amongst our membership.
2. Tiga's vision is to make the UK the best place in the world to do games business. We focus on three sets of activities: political representation, generating media coverage and developing services that enhance the competitiveness of our members. This means that Tiga members are effectively represented in the corridors of power, their voice is heard in the media and they receive benefits that make a material difference to their businesses, including a reduction in costs and improved commercial opportunities.
3. For the industry research relating to the impact of a tax break for games production in the UK, see Gibson, R., (2008), Games up? The economic case for introducing tax breaks for the video games development industry a summary, p. 2.
For further information, please contact: Dr Richard Wilson, Tiga CEO on: 0845 0941095; Mob: 07875 939643; or: Email: email@example.com, or Eva Whitlow, TIGA PR Manager on: Mob: 07814 039 983;Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.