TIGA sets out agenda for Department for Business, Innovation and Skills

TIGA, the trade association representing the UK games industry, today set out a policy agenda for advancing the UK games industry. TIGA made the proposals in a response to the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) Draft Structural Reform Plan.

TIGA’s response to BIS included proposals in the following areas:

Rebalance the economy BIS should argue in Government: for the introduction of Games Tax Relief to ensure that the UK games industry can compete on a level playing field with its overseas competitors, to create high skilled jobs and to stimulate investment; for the retention and improvement of Research and Development tax credits; and for a review of lottery funding, with a view to using some of this money to support UK developers and outsourcers (e.g. to finance early stage development work in order to create playable prototypes and for training).

Stimulate exports Accredited trade organisations such as TIGA should be given greater flexibility over the use of UKT&I grants in order to help more games businesses to attend overseas trade shows. Games businesses should be able to use UKT&I grants to cover travel and accommodation costs, in addition to exhibition expenses. This would enable more eligible SMEs in general and games businesses in particular to attend trade shows, thereby enhancing their potential to export.

Support universities, science and research in building a strong, innovative economyThe UK should aim to increase the proportion of Gross Domestic Product that it spends on tertiary education through a combination of public investment and tuition fees. This is necessary to support the UK’s ambition to be a leading innovative knowledge economy. More intelligent people will be able to benefit from higher education, the quality of research will be strengthened, the recruitment and retention of high quality teaching staff will be enhanced and the UK’s leading position in the market for overseas students will be reinforced. UK games businesses will also be more likely to draw on a healthy supply of high quality graduates if investment in tertiary education is increased.

Build an internationally competitive skills base UK games developers need a highly educated and trainable workforce in order to compete successfully. The Government should ensure that tuition fees for students studying mathematics and computer science degrees are competitively priced in comparison to other degrees to incentivise the study of these subjects. Industrial secondments between universities and games businesses should be encouraged. Consideration should be given to the introduction of an SME Training Tax Relief, whereby SMEs would be able to offset expenditure on training, Continuous Professional Development for staff and education outreach activities against corporation tax.

BIS’s Draft Structural Reform Plan states that the Department’s intention is to“Develop options to ensure that the UK is not so dependent on a narrow range of economic sectors, with a particular focus on supporting areas of comparative advantage including advanced manufacturing, low carbon manufacturing, the life sciences and service and creative industries.”

Dr Richard Wilson, TIGA CEO, said:

“If BIS is serious about its intention to rebalance the economy and serious about its ambition to be a Department for growth then it must adopt a range of polices to enable private sector firms to prosper and expand. For the video games industry, this means the introduction of Games Tax Relief, the retention of R&D tax credits, support for prototype funding, flexibility over UKT&I export assistance grants and sustained investment in higher education. We now need a clear Government strategy to enable the games industry to fulfil its potential.”

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

“The video games sector has the capacity to play a part in rebalancing the UK economy away from an excessive reliance on public sector employment and financial services. Yet if our industry is to make this important contribution the Government must above all get the fiscal environment right. Our key competitors benefit from tax breaks for game production– we do not. The Government must in particular look again at Games Tax Relief and enhance R&D tax credits. For our part, TIGA will continue to lead the debate in policy development and the articulation of the games industry’s agenda vis-a-vis Government and other interested parties.”

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 games publishers, outsourcing companies, technology businesses and universities amongst our membership. TIGA was awarded‘Trade Association of the Year’ and the‘Member Recruitment Award’ at the Trade Association Forum Best Practice Awards 2010.

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.

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


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