Industry trade body TIGA has made four proposals to the government in advance of the Autumn budget, which it feels are key to getting the UK games industry “firing on all four cylinders.”
The body has called for has called for Video Games Tax Relief (VGTR) to be retained and improved. Saying that research done by TIGA and Games Investor Consulting shows an increase in the rate of relief from 25 per cent to 32 per cent would create almost 1,500 additional development jobs and generate £88 million in additional investment by 2025.
With the current upswing in investment in games development, it may well prove a good opportunity to sweeten the pot and draw greater investment. We’ve certainly noted that other countries, such as Australia, are becoming more competitive in fighting for investment.
TIGA has also proposed the introduction of a Video Games Investment Fund (VGIF) to assist the long-running capital issues for smaller development. This would provide pound for pound match funding for games businesses, up to a maximum of £500,000. In this case research suggests that a VGIF would create over 1,200 additional jobs and £78 million in additional investment by 2025.
TIGA would also like to see the return of the Skills Investment Fund (SIF) to provide matched funding for games businesses to “hire trainees, enhance their skills and grow the industry”. The SIF previously operated between 2013 and 2017 and facilitated the co-investment of £2,783,125 in skills spending. 144 different games companies accessed SIF funding and 1,373 people benefited from SIF training. 80 per cent of trainees were subsequently retained by the participating games businesses.
If such a fund can be brought back and was also targeted at bringing a more diverse workforce into the industry to better reflect its consumers, then that would be hugely beneficial we believe.
Finally TIGA is looking for continuation of support for the UK Games Fund to offer grants of up to £25,000 to businesses looking to build game prototypes.
Dr Richard Wilson OBE, CEO of TIGA said: “TIGA’s proposals for the Autumn Budget will get the UK video games industry firing on all four cylinders. Enhancing Video Games Tax Relief will encourage growth and boost inward investment. Introducing a Video Games Investment Fund will enable small studios to access finance and scale up. Resurrecting the Skills Investment Fund will allow more studios to hire and train more staff. Maintaining the UK Games Fund will support start-ups and encourage innovation.
“Taken together, these measures will enable the UK video games industry to support the growth of games clusters throughout the UK and enable our industry to secure a larger share of the market for games production and content.”