Industry association TIGA has called on the Conservatives to introduce game development tax breaks in the party’s mini-manifesto, set to be released this week.
The group’s chairman Jason Kingsley said it is “absolutely critical” that the party introduces a game tax relief system based on TIGA’s own state support policies.
“The UK video games industry will be interested in examining the Conservative Party’s policy agenda for our sector,” he said.
Conservative spokesperson for the game industry, Ed Vaizey, revealed last week that the party is set to release documents outlining its plan to support the game industry.
His assurances came to quell mounting fears that the party was feared to have cold feet on supporting the sector. Last week, in a surprise move, the Tories made little mention of the British game industry in its 131-page manifesto.
Kingsley said that the issue of tax relief for the game industry was “the litmus test for all politicians” in the current election campaign.
“Only if games tax relief is introduced will the UK video games industry be able to compete on a level playing field with our overseas competitors,” he said.
Kingsley, also the co-founder of UK studio Rebellion, stated clearly that “all other policy proposals are entirely secondary to games tax relief”.
This is thought to be in response to Vaizey’s own comments, where in an interview with Develop he said there is “a whole range of other measures that we think we should look at that could provide support for the videogame industry.”
Vaizey suggested that the Conservatives’ policy would differ from the Labour Government’s.
Said Vaizey: “There are some people in the game industry that think a tax break might be too narrow, or inappropriate.
“We also need to look at venture capital trusts and research and development tax breaks to see if they can be tweaked to ensure that video game developers can access that kind of support as well.”
TIGA has outlined how game tax relief should be calculated and applied – with the association basing its policies on the existing tax relief for British films.
“There should be three rates of relief in order to benefit large and small games studios: 20 per cent of core expenditure for budgets above £6,000,000; 25 per cent for budgets over £3,000,000 million but less than £6,000,000; and, 30 per cent for budgets of over £100,000 but less than £3,000,000,” the group said.
TIGA says its own tax relief measures will create or save 3,550 jobs, as well as increase and safeguard £457m in new development expenditure and ‘saved’ development expenditure.