Labour MP Tom Watson has expressed concern that his Conservative counterpart Ed Vaizey has ‘lost the battle with George Osbourne’ in a push for game tax breaks.
Following months of to-ing and fro-ing on the issue of game tax breaks, today the Conservatives plunged their state support plans back into doubt after releasing a 131-page policy manifesto that ignored the issue.
“I’m very concerned about the news,” said MP Watson in a call with Develop.
Watson – an industry sympathiser who previously claimed to have identified conflict on the issue from within the Conservative Party – said today “I genuinely hope this doesn’t mean Ed Vaizey has lost the battle with George Osbourne.”
In a recent ELSPA Question Time event, Watson implied that there was a rather sizable hole in the Tories’ aim to support tax breaks.
He said, “Vaizey’s a great man, but basically he doesn’t make the calls. [Shadow Chancellor] George Osborne does, and he hasn’t made his mind up on the issue.”
Today Watson was somewhat deflated to be given further evidence that his claims of Tory indecision appear accurate.
“It would be extremely disappointing if the Conservatives are one of the three main political parties that’s broken support for the industry,” he said.
“So far we’ve managed to come so far while keeping party differences to a minimum, [so] it will be terrible if this is lost at the final hurdle.”
As much as it can be for a Labour MP on the campaign trail, Watson appeared to want to take party politics out of the issue.
“There are very creative people in Britain who deserve support,” he said, “like game developers, and it doesn’t matter what the political parties think – these industries deserve support.”