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Hodge: Forget tax breaks, but government is backing games

Ben Parfitt
The games industry is complex and must keep its house in order, but it is also much admired and increasingly understood by the current Government.

That was the message put across forcibly by Minister of State for Culture, Media and Sport Margaret Hodge this week, as she made an encouraging address to the great and the good of the UK business as a curtain-raiser to the London Games Festival.

Whilst forthright in her view that tax incentives for UK games businesses are unlikely, and insistent that legislation would be changed if self-regulation was deemed to be failing, Hodge was generally positive about the contribution games are making to the creative industries.

“You are the top of the league when it comes to our creative industries, bigger than film or music,” said Hodge in a special Q&A session after her main address.

“You have important social and economic challenges with no easy answers, but the Government now recognises the importance of your business.”

She also had clear advice for the industry’s on-going PR battle.
“To deal with other negative MPs, I suggest you set up an all-party group. Find some MPs who understand your business. Get them on board and working for you within Westminster.

“And to ensure a sensible discussion about social responsibilities, I would also encourage you to get closer to the children’s charities.

“But as for criticism from the media, well don’t be so surprised. You’re a competitor of theirs aren’t you?”

Hodge also paid tribute to the work that has been done by trade body ELSPA in forging a best-ever relationship with Government, which is starting to have a series of beneficial effects when it comes to understanding and dialogue.

To see a video of the ELSPA AGM in full, head over to this link.

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Tags: gaming tax breaks , government gaming , margaret hodge , video games tax breaks

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