Conservative Technology Proposals encouraging, but more details needed, says TIGA

12 March, 2010

TIGA, the trade association representing the UK games industry, said today that it welcomed the Conservative Party’s commitment to keep R&D tax credits and to encourage top science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) graduates into teaching, However, further details are needed in respect of the Party’s planned funding levels for the Research Councils, proposals for business led local economic partnerships and plans to establish clear national policy leadership for sectors including the creative industries. TIGA made the comments following the Conservative Party’s publication of their Technology Manifesto.

Richard Wilson, CEO of TIGA, said:

“The Conservative Party’s commitment to retain R&D tax credits will be welcomed by many video game businesses. The Conservatives’ proposal to refocus the R&D tax credits on high technology firms, small businesses and start-ups is interesting, but needs more detail. TIGA hopes that all political parties will support the retention of the Small Firms R&D Tax Relief, currently eligible for businesses with 500 or fewer employees, which meet the criteria for R&D. We also hope that all political parties will consider increasing the rate of relief under the SME R&D tax credit scheme from 175 per cent of qualifying expenditure to 200 per cent.

However, TIGA’s priority in respect of tax policy remains the introduction of Games Tax Relief. Only if Games Tax Relief is introduced can the UK video games sector compete on a more level playing field with the rest of the world.

“TIGA has consistently argued for incentives to encourage first class STEM graduates to enter the teaching profession. We therefore welcome the Conservative Party’s thinking in this area.

“More detail is needed in respect of the Research Councils’ budgets. In particular, can we expect to see real term increases in their budgets, measures to promote knowledge transfer, and recognition of the importance of both‘blue sky’ research and near market research?”

Paul Mayze, TIGA board member and Chief Operating Officer at Monumental Games, said:

“The Conservatives’ proposals for business led local economic partnerships sound interesting, but it is unclear from their manifesto what this would mean in practice. Similarly, the Party needs to provide more information about its plans to create clear national policy leadership for sectors including the creative industries. Trade associations such as TIGA should have a crucial role in developing policy leadership. In terms of achieving economic leadership, TIGA continues to believe that the most effective and proportionate way to back the UK video games industry would be through a Games Tax Relief. We urge all political parties to give this proposal due attention in the run up to the Budget and the General Election.”

Ends

Notes to editors:

About TIGA:

TIGA is the trade association representing the UK’s games industry. The majority of our members are either independent games developers or in-house publisher owned developers. We also have outsourcing companies, technology businesses and universities amongst our membership.

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.


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