Chancellor Alistair Darling has personally endorsed the game industry as a “creative force” that deserves, and needs, support in Westminster.
The second most powerful man in UK politics told Develop that his recent visit to Dundee – where he toured TIGA member Realtime Worlds, as well as Abertay University – was “immensely enjoyable”, and heaped praise on the region.
"There is a creative force in Scotland’s computer games industry that we must support,” he said. “What is clear to me is the passion and drive of those involved in the industry.”
As the closely-fought General Election campaign passes halfway point, Darling reiterated that the Labour Party would support Britain’s development industry, which has recently struggled to compete on the world stage.
“That is why in the Budget I announced tax breaks for the industry to ensure the talent we have can keep progressing,” he said.
That Budget announcement – made in March – sent shockwaves across the game business, with independent research suggesting the proposed state support could give Britain 3,550 graduate-level jobs by 2015.
Asked why he introduced the measure, Darling told Develop his party were “committed to investing in new creative industries like this, as part of a package of measures to boost jobs and the economy."
And speaking of his tour across Dundee while on the campaign trail, Darling told Develop his “visit to both Abertay University and Realtime Worlds was immensely enjoyable.”
Added Darling: “The links between the company and the university allow a new generation of engineers and creative personnel to thrive.
"I was particularly impressed at the practical application of the technology for medical research and also its application to consumer behaviour.
"Dundee is at the forefront of this sector and we want to protect the industry’s position.”
Darling’s comments come as all three main political parties wrangle over the issue of state support for the industry.
While the Labour Party’s policy is outlined in its Budget report, the Tories were recently subjected to accusations of abandoning policy, after it was revealed that no development tax break plans were published in the party’s 131-page manifesto.
It had been previously revealed to Develop that David Cameron’s party, if elected, would introduce game tax breaks in its first budget.
With serious doubts hanging over that pledge, the Conservative spokesperson for the game industry, Ed Vaizey, assured Develop that the party would release documents on state support for the sector this week.
The documents have yet to be published.
[Timeline: UK TAX BREAKS]