Jim McGovern MP for Dundee West met today, alongside Dr Richard Wilson CEO of TIGA, with the Secretary of State for Scotland Michael Moore to discuss the decision made by the coalition to scrap the planned tax relief for the computer games industry.
This follows a question put to the Secretary of State by Mr McGovern in the House of Commons on Wednesday (21st July).
Speaking about the meeting Mr McGovern said;“I am pleased that the Secretary of State for Scotland has agreed to meet with me and Dr Richard Wilson, CEO of TIGA. This has taken some time to come about after numerous questions were asked in Parliament and after pressure coming from the industry; nonetheless it is encouraging that the government finally seems to be taking this issue seriously. This comes off the back of news that Abertay University in my constituency will be given£5m from the Treasury to invest in its computer games courses. However, this is only the start of what must be a wider change in government policy towards the industry.”
“After the meeting it is clear that government are as yet unwilling to back the computer games industry with this much needed tax incentive. I believe that the government have already agreed in principle with providing tax incentives to specific industries, from film to the oil industry, why not the computer games industry? The fact remains that if jobs are forced to move out of the country then extremely talented and dedicated professionals from the UK will go with them; that is unacceptable for my constituency and for the industry as a whole.”
“The decision to scrap the Games Tax Relief was taken by the Chancellor George Osborne. That is why I am asking for a meeting with him to discuss that decision and to discuss how we can go forward to provide the support that the computer games industry needs. I am asking the Chancellor to explain in detail the decision to scrap the tax relief, whether or not the Treasury has made an assessment of the impact of that decision on the industry, and what he meant when he said the tax relief was‘poorly targeted’.”
Dr. Richard Wilson TIGA CEO stated: "We are encouraged by the Secretary of State for Scotland's decision to meet with TIGA and Jim McGovern. TIGA is seeking clarification on why Games Tax Relief was abandoned in the Budget and would like to work with all Parliamentarians and Ministers to ensure this policy is reintroduced at the earliest opportunity. The videogames industry is a Scottish as well as a national success story. It is an industry of the future and sustains high-tech, skilled jobs in a growing international industry."
Mr McGovern concluded;“I will continue to put pressure on the government until we have those answers, and I think it is appropriate for the industry and my constituents that this is done in a face to face meeting with the Chancellor.”
In the budget the Chancellor decided to scrap plans, proposed by the Labour Chancellor Alistair Darling, to introduce a tax relief for the computer games industry. The Treasury estimated this would cost£50m a year to the tax payer. The film industry, which contributes very similar amounts to the UK economy, will continue to receive tax incentives costing the tax payer£110m a year. The Government has not explained why two very similar industries should be treated so differently. Dundee boasts 500 jobs in and around the computer games industry, making it an important employer and crucial to the local economy; competition from countries like Canada, who have introduced tax incentives to entice games developers to set up there, has driven calls for the government to allow the UK computer games industry to become more competitive in the global market.
For further information call Lee Butcher– Researcher to Jim McGovern MP on 0207 219 4938