When Gordon Brown becomes Premier on June 27th, he will inherit an administration that has drastically cut the DTI’s games-focused budget, and discarded what many see as the key link between publishers and Parliament – the designated ‘games man’ John Kroeger.
Kroeger, who leaves the DTI today, admitted: “The DTI as an institution has been thoroughly bombarded by shrinkage. The general area called business relations is being consolidated.
“Put simply, the DTI has run out of money – so it’s entirely appropriate that fairly paid consultants like me are on the chopping block. It’s a miracle the DTI has managed to keep us on for so long.”
The responsibility for industry relations will now be shared by a dilapidated DTI and the Department Of Culture, Media And Sport (DCMS), which is headed up by MP for St Helens South Shaun Woodward. The Government has also moved to reduce investment into the regular DTI Game Forum meetings in London.
Despite the dramatic cutbacks at the DTI, the trade’s most powerful figures are still confident that their voice will be heard at the highest level of Government:
Paul Jackson, Director General, ELSPA:
“John Kroeger built very important links for us and today when we meet with officials and Ministers across both DTI and DCMS, we are asked to contribute to Commons Select Committees and feed into Government agendas like the Creative Economy Program. I am truly sad to see him go, but our contacts with Government are secure.”
Ray Maguire, Senior VP and MD, SCE UK:
“This does not mean we won’t be heard in Government. Our industry, alongside ELSPA and TIGA, has forged stronger relationships than ever with a number of Government bodies. This allows us to continue the work all parties have done thus far, to further strengthen and promote the UK games sector, at home and abroad.”
Andy Payne, Chairman, ELSPA and Mastertronic:
“Whilst it is good to have as many routes into Government as possible, sometimes it can lead to confusion. The DCMS is focused on the knowledge-based economy and this is where our industry sits in the 21st century. Bridges are always being built at all levels from the Ministers through to the Civil Service.”