TIGA – the trade association that represents the video games industry – is calling for the UK Chancellor to introduce a Video Games Investment Fund (VGIF) ahead of the Autumn Budget to boost studios’ opportunities for finances and develop studio growth.
TIGA is calling for the VGIF to make grants or loans of £75,000 to £500,000 available to games businesses on a matched-funding basis. Research commissioned by TIGA indicates the VGIF would not only have a positive impact on the UK’s games industry but also on the wider economy, with a return on investment of £26.5m over five years.
The organisation also believes it would increase headcount by nearly 1,500 staff, create over 2,700 indirect jobs in the supply chain around games development, encourage games companies to invest an additional £215 million in development expenditure, and contribute an additional £197 million in tax revenues over five years. The plans could help 175 studios – which is around 17 per cent of the total – and increase Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by an additional £480 million, too.
The proposed scheme would also include a commercial mentoring business advisory service "staffed by paid industry veterans" and could be financed via Grant in Aid, the British Business Bank, or the National Lottery.
"Britain’s video games industry is a world leader, and it’s vital that it stays that way," said Tom Watson MP, Deputy Leader of the Labour Party and Shadow Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport. "TIGA’s proposal for a Games Investment Fund is something Labour is seriously considering as a way to boost innovation, investment and jobs in the sector. We need to make sure we sustain success in one of our most important creative industries."
"Establishing TIGA’s proposed Games Investment Fund would boost investment and employment and help to grow the video games industry in all of the UK’s creative hotspots, including the Dundee and wider Scottish games development clusters," added Chris Law MP, Co-Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Video Games in the Westminster Parliament.
A similar scheme already operating in Finland has provided financial support to over one-fifth of the entire Finnish games industry. Dr Richard Wilson, TIGA CEO, insists the Finnish scheme "has more than paid for itself", stating "for every euro invested […] in the games industry, a return ranging from nine to 26 euros has been generated".
TIGA has also called on the Chancellor to reform the Apprenticeship Levy "into a more general Training Levy", and protect access to skilled foreign workers by "keeping salaries for Tier 2 visas at competitive levels".