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Wilson hits back at Ramsdale over tax breaks

TIGA CEO calls for unity after EA chief's questioning of policy

Chief executive of TIGA, Richard Wilson has responded to statements made by EA's Keith Ramsdale in an interview last week, by calling for a unified industry position on the issue of tax breaks.

Ramsdale's position, laid out in a GamesIndustry.biz interview on January 7, is that the UK industry needs to take a step back and reconsider its approach to tax break lobbying, considering alternatives instead of risking alienation by continuing to push its case.

Wilson, in an interview with Nukezilla published today, has said that Ramsdale's allusions to the tax breaks as a "dead horse" are "bonkers", and damaging to parliament's perception of the industry as united and resolute.

"The truth of the matter is that the UK is not competing on a level playing field, we know this don't we? You know this, I know this, Keith knows this," Wilson told Nukezilla.

"We have to campaign for UK tax relief as part of a very sensible package of measures not just to help the UK videogames industry but the entire UK economy. Because actually if we had a powerful, successful and growing videogames industry it would be good for the coalition government and good for the overall economy."

"So I completely disagree with Keith's point and I think it's a great shame actually that he's made these remarks because it really damages any unity within the games industry."

Ramsdale, who sits on the board of the industry's other trade body, UKIE, had made clear that although he sees the tax breaks as a positive idea long-term, there are other aims which would be more easily achieved, more immediately - and that pursuit of these should take priority for fear of turning away the few listening ears which industry pressure has gained in parliament.

"The fact of the matter is that you can flog a dead horse - that's a pretty good term for this," Ramsdale told GamesIndustry.biz. "I'll refer you back to the finance packages that we're talking to government about. There are a number of items on there that we're talking about, and a year or two ago R&D tax credits would have been at the top of that list.

"It's still on there now, but it's further down, because it's clear that it won't happen - but it's not gone away, we're still talking about it on a regular basis. But if we just keep going in every time we speak about R&D tax credits, they're just going to stop engaging with us.

"What they want to know is, what alternatives are there? And that's why we're having a proper conversation with them."

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Latest comments (2)

Des Gayle Director, Altered Gene Studios5 years ago
Are tax breaks really the be all and end all? Of all the people that the industry "lose" abroad, how many of them actually end up in Canada (for arguements sake) and not just somewhere that will simply give them a job?

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Des Gayle on 14th January 2011 10:48am

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I know of at least 10 people who went to Canada after a company of around 100 I worked for closed.

I know it's hardly a proper sample size but 10% is a lot.

The truth is that one way is that you have to make it as politically damaging for politicians so it will actually hurt their re-election chances as much as possible so that either the next people who come in won't basically try to buy our votes by saying the will do something and then not as is the case here and also so as to make it enough of a political issue that the opposition think it's worth it (from a votes perspective) to support it at the next election.

If it becomes a non-issue by simply giving up there will be no reason for it to change. Those tax-breaks will simply go to the "friends" of the political parties.

Which brings up the other method, start lobbying (buying off) the individual politicians with dinners, trips and seats on boards of huge games corporations when they leave government much the same way the banking industry does.

Maybe that's UKIE's tactic.

Disclaimer : All views on this issue expressed here are pure cynical speculation and not meant to be taken seriously ;-)
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