UK Govt increases support for start-ups and apprenticeship schemes

The Budget 2014: What it means for game developers

UK games tax breaks may have been a no-show, but there are still a few announcements that could affect studios across the country.

George Osborne confirmed that Corporation Tax would fall to 21 per cent from April 2014, and will also fall to 20 per cent in 2015. It claimed this would be the joint lowest rate in the G20.

A £2,000 employment allowance will also be introduced in April 2014, which will reduce Employer National Insurance Contributions. The Government said it hopes this will help support businesses and create new jobs.

The R&D tax credit will be increased for loss-making small-to-medium-sized companies – including start-ups – from 11 per cent to 14.5 per cent on April 1st. The increase is anticipated to support £1.3 billion of investment in SMEs over the next five years.

An extra £85 million in grants over the next two years will be available to employers to support 100,000 new apprenticeships, and £20 million will be given over two years to support degree-level apprenticeships specifically.

Other announcements included the Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme being made permanent and the reformation of UK Export Finance to support intangible exports, as well as doubling the size of the direct lending scheme to £3 billion at the lowest permitted interest rates.

The CEO of industry trade body UKIE welcomed many of the announcements, but reiterated the importance of tax breaks for the UK.

"Many of these new announcements are welcome steps which should help further cement the position of the UK as the best place in the world to make and sell games," she said.

"Helping SMEs to grow more quickly is particularly crucial, and the announcements on SEIS and export support should have a good impact in this regard.

“However, it is games tax relief which will have a real impact in unlocking our sector’s cultural and economic potential, as the Government recognised when introducing the scheme. It is vital that we get it in place as soon as possible”.

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