The Chancellor of the Exchequer, Phillip Hammond MP, announced a new budget for 2017 and beyond earlier today in the House of Commons. While it may not be exactly what many in the games industry would have hoped for, there were certainly positives to take from the address.
Firstly, the government is going to provide an extra £1 million to the UK Games Fund until 2020 to help early-stage game developers access funding and support. Education will also see a boost with the promise to have a fully qualified computer science teacher at GSCE level for every secondary school, investing £84 million to train up teachers. Further investment will also be made to help Maths studies at higher educational levels.
Previously announced moves, including further investment and rebranding of Tech City UK, was also confirmed in the speech. More information will be due in an upcoming Industrial Strategy White Paper that will be published by the Government in the coming weeks. For now, though, the news is positive for those in the games industry.
Dr Richard Wilson of trade body TIGA welcomed the budget review. "
“TIGA strongly supports the Government’s plans to incentivise the study of maths – which is already the most popular A-level subject – more computer science teachers and support for FE colleges to prepare for the introduction of T-Levels. The games industry, the creative sectors and the wider UK economy need a highly skilled, trained and educated workforce to compete successfully.
"In addition to enhancing skills, training and education and increasing support for the UK Games Fund, TIGA strongly believes that the Government should reinforce our successful industries, including the video games sector. Access to capital is one of the key factors holding back our sector. We hope that the Government’s forthcoming Industrial White Paper will strengthen our sector by introducing TIGA’s proposed Games Investment Fund, which would provide grants and pound for pound match funding for developers; and support the establishment of a British Games Institute to drive our sector forward.”