Culture Minister Ed Vaizey gave a well-rehearsed speech to gathered games industry professionals at the Develop Conference in Brighton this morning, encouraging the sector to move on from tax breaks uncertainties and to look elsewhere for support.
“I know that, to put it mildly, most of you were disappointed by the loss of tax relief,” he said.
“But the Budget is good for business, and good for the video games industry.”
The Minister then outlined several key areas of general business aid in the Budget, including the lowered corporation tax and R&D incentives.
“None of these measures are specific to video games,” he said, “but this is a government that believes in business and business across all sectors.”
When questioned by TIGA CEO Richard Wilson about why the Government did not accept the proposal for tax breaks, and if they would support the industry in pursuing them again at a later date, Vaizey was emphatic.
“You haven’t made the case for tax breaks because the Chancellor didn’t accept it,” he stated.
“You would need to make it to me and George Osborne again. There are people with an enormous amount of goodwill who want to help this industry, but we really need to work together to make sure we aren’t simply helping places like Canada.”
The Minister went on to reiterate his belief that other methods of support should be looked into, and warned against giving up hope in the face of stiff foreign competition.
“I would council against the council of despair. Canada has its attractions, and they are financial, but we have our attractions in the ecology of the industry make up. I personally think this industry has a fantastic future, and I want to work with you, but I think that the view that without tax breaks the industry won’t go forward is wrong.”
Elsewhere Vaizey used the occasion to officially launch the £2m support scheme for smaller studios in association with Abertay University.