Members of the UK game development community are fuming after the government renegged on its pre-election promise to deliver much needed tax relief to the industry.
UK Chancellor George Osborne stated that the planned tax relief for the games industry would be cancelled when he delivered his budget speech earlier in the week. Osborne instead chose to provide more widespread tax incentives that would help a greater variety of businesses. The budget issued was an emergency budget, intended to drastically improve the UK’s fiscal health over the next five years.
Representatives from ELSPA and TIGA, two of the UK’s premier game industry bodies, have been severely disappointed by the news.
ESLPA Director General Michael Rawlinson said
“Our industry will be rightly puzzled as to how tax breaks can be lauded before an election, only to be seen as ‘poorly targeted’ and scrapped just 6 weeks later.”
TIGA CEO Dr. Richard Wilson painted a less than rosy picture for the future of UK game development, saying that
“Unless the Coalition Government introduces Games Tax Relief or a similar fiscal measure then the UK will forfeit millions of pounds in inward investment, jobs will be lost and we will cease to be a leading developer of video games.”
TIGA Vice-Chairman and Managing Director Gareth Edmonson was a little more optimistic
“The Government has missed an opportunity by not providing for Games Tax Relief in the Budget. However, TIGA’s campaign for Games Tax Relief has raised awareness about the video games industry in Government and in Parliament. The medium-term prospects for Games Tax Relief are positive. TIGA will continue to strive to make the UK the best place to do games business.”
The games industry, like all businesses, will benefit from a slight reduction in the corporate tax rate.