â??Three or four year hiatusâ?? before the coalition returns to the issue

Vaizey: Tax breaks off the table until election

The culture minister, Ed Vaizey, has claimed his department will resist calls for game tax breaks in what he calls a “three or four year hiatus”.

That would suggest the Coalition Government won’t promise state support for the British games industry until the next election looms.

The Conservative Party, of which Vaizey was previously a shadow minister, promised “unequivocally” to introduce game tax breaks “in our first budget”.

The party abolished its plan after it was elected.

Speaking at Culture Department select committee meeting, he was quoted by Gamespot as saying the issue could be on “a hiatus for three or four years [or more] before it realistically comes back onto the table”.

The government has said, now repeatedly and at the odds of other parties and MPs, that current calls for tax breaks are “unconvincing” and “poorly targeted”.

The Coalition’s key priority is to cut away at the UK’s extraordinary levels of debt, and has introduced a range of measures to hack into the budget deficit.

It is in this context that there is a sentiment across Whitehall and, possibly, various games industry bodies that a tax relief bill is only a distant possibility.

MP Tom Watson told Develop at a recent event in Parliament he believed tax breaks would come eventually.

John Whittingdale, the Select Committee chairman for the Culture Department, has urged the games industry to continue its fight for game tax breaks despite resistance from the Treasury, believing “a positive outcome” will arrive in the end.

Tiga CEO Richard Wilson is convinced tax breaks will arrive in the UK eventually.

At the Culture Department select committee meeting, Vaizey said he would “encourage Tiga in particular to look at other creative options.”

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