Budget 2009: Tigas demands

Game interest group Tiga has called on the government to introduce a set of schemes in the forthcoming budget that could aid the game development sector.

Speaking to MCV, Tiga CEO Richard Wilson lists several measures that he feels are needed to bolster the UK’s position as a world-leader in game production.

What I would like to see is a 20% tax break on games production, modelled on the French system,” he said, and also a reduction in tuition fees for people studying computer science and mathematics.”

As well as a reduction in tuition fees, Wilson feels the game sector also would need Government to increase investment in university courses, in particular to fund computer science and mathematics courses.”

Also, following the news that Gordon Brown has hinted at a new bank that would finance to risky start-ups in the tech sector, Wilson argues that it’s more important to see the government take steps to put an end to the recent drought in venture capital funding.

There’s a strong case for the Government to set up a venture capital fund, which is jointly backed by both the public and private sectors. If this initiative was making equity investments in small to start-up enterprises then that would be pretty encouraging.”

Wilson’s sentiment follows that of The National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts (Nesta), which claims that there was a 70% fall in new venture capital funding last year. The body wants Brown’s cabinet to match investment from the private sector in high-tech businesses.

At the same time, many analysts are agreeing that Chancellor of the Exchequer Alistair Darling has little room for manoeuvre in such tight times. It has already been reported that Labour will likely announce 15bn of government spending cuts over the next few years; a sharp turnaround for a government that has spent historical amounts of money for the past twelve years.

I’m hopeful of the Budget,” said Wilson, but obviously there’s a difference between hope and expectation. But I at least expect to see the government launch an enquiry into a case for tax breaks in the games industry, at the very least.”

He adds that it’s encouraging that a number of groups and businesses have raised the issue of UK game development. I think that the Government – and indeed the opposition parties – have actually taken note of our concerns.”

Our industry is still very successful, we are still the fourth largest in the world, and the largest in Europe, means that there is so much to build upon. We have to be optimistic, there’s everything to play for.”

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