TIGA comments on Coalition Government’s programme for government

TIGA, the trade association representing the UK games industry, said today that it welcomed the Coalition Government’s ambition to make the UK the leading hi-tech exporter in Europe, but stressed that if the video games industry was to fulfil its export potential then Games Tax Relief must be introduced as soon as possible.

TIGA made the comments following the publication of the Liberal Democrat– Conservative Coalition’s document The Coalition: our programme for government (HM Government).

The document states (p. 10) that the Coalition Government will:

• reform the corporate tax system by simplifying reliefs and allowances, and tackling avoidance, in order to reduce headline rates. Our aim is to create the most competitive corporate tax regime in the G20, while protecting manufacturing industries.

• consider the implementation of the Dyson Review to make the UK the leading hi-tech exporter in Europe, and refocus the research and development tax credit on hi-tech companies, small firms and start-ups.

Richard Wilson, CEO of TIGA, said:

“The Coalition Government’s intention to give the UK the most competitive tax regime in the G20 and to ensure that the UK is the leading hi-tech exporter in Europe is laudable. TIGA set out a series of tax proposals to realise similar ambitions in The UK video games industry: an agenda for the next Parliament (April 2010).

“The UK video games sector is exactly the kind of hi-tech export focussed industry that the Coalition Government needs to support if it is to achieve its vision. The majority of UK video games businesses are small or medium sized enterprises. On average, 62 per cent of a UK developers’ turnover is generated through the export of games, with the USA and Europe being the sector’s principal export markets.

“However, the UK video games industry is labouring under an uncompetitive tax regime. Our key competitors benefit from substantial tax breaks for games production. No such tax break exists in the UK. If Games Tax Relief is implemented then the UK video games sector will help to drive an export and investment led recovery. If no such tax break is introduced then investment, jobs and growth will decline.”

The Coalition: our programme for government also promises to:

• introduce measures to ensure the rapid roll-out of superfast broadband across the country. We will ensure that BT and other infrastructure providers allow the use of their assets to deliver such broadband, and we will seek to introduce superfast broadband in remote areas at the same time as in more populated areas. If necessary, we will consider using the part of the TV licence fee that is supporting the digital switchover to fund broadband in areas that the market alone will not reach. (p14)

On higher education, the Coalition Government states that it will await Lord Browne’s final report on university funding and judge it proposals against the need to:

– increase social mobility;

– take into account the impact on student debt;

– ensure a properly funded university sector;

– improve the quality of teaching; and

– advance scholarship; and attract a higher proportion of students from disadvantaged backgrounds.

The Coalition: our programme for government also states that:

• If the response of the Government to Lord Browne’s report is one that Liberal Democrats cannot accept, then arrangements will be made to enable Liberal Democrat MPs to abstain in any vote.

• We will review support for part-time students in terms of loans and fees.

• We will publish more information about the costs, graduate earnings and student satisfaction of different university courses.

• We will ensure that public funding mechanisms for university research safeguard its academic integrity. (p31/32)

Jason Kingsley, TIGA Chairman and CEO and Creative Director of Rebellion, said:

“Tax and skills are the key issues facing the UK video games sector. We need Games Tax Relief introduced to ensure that the UK video games industry competes on a level playing field with our overseas rivals. We need investment in higher education to ensure that UK universities remain internationally competitive and can educate high quality graduates, particularly in computer science and mathematics.”

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.

The Coalition: our programme for government can be accessed at: http://programmeforgovernment.hmg.gov.uk/files/2010/05/coalition-programme.pdf

For further information, please contact Eva Field, TIGA PR Manager on: 07814 039 983, or email eva@tiga.org.


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