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Ed Vaizey becomes Minister for Culture

Conservative Party games advocate appointed to position

Conservative MP Ed Vaizey, who has been a vocal advocate of the games industry over the months preceeding the general election, has been appointed Culture Minister of the new Conservative - Liberal Democrat coalition government.

In his former role of Shadow Arts Minister, Vaizey spoke out regularly in defence of the games industry, noting that it was an important sector for the country and that it deserved a level playing field on which to compete with other countries.

"You are competing against countries that are giving active fiscal support to the videogames industry, and I think it's a given that you have to put something in place to, quite frankly, level the playing field - so it is my absolutely number one priority, should we win the general election," he said, speaking on tax breaks at a Playing The Game panel session held earlier in the year.

"I think that the videogames industry, in terms of the political world, has come an enormous distance," he added. "When people like Richard Wilson and ELSPA came to see me, they described this industry which is a politician's dream, and I couldn't understand why it wasn't more prominent...and the only way we heard about it was when Keith Vaz raised it in a motion about serial killers."

At a similar ELSPA event held in March following Labour's promise in the Budget of a games industry tax break, Vaizey pledged: "We are going to support tax breaks for the videogames industry."

Trade body ELSPA said that it "warmly applauds" Vaizey's appointment to the Department for Culture, Media and Sport.

"Over the last two years Ed Vaizey has proven himself to be one of the few politicians with a true grasp as to the importance of the video games industry and its cultural impact," said ELSPA director general Michael Rawlinson.

"Due to several meetings held with the new Minister in the run up to the election Ed is well aware of the issues we face. We therefore welcome the opportunity of working with him and his team in addressing these issues."

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Latest comments (17)

Kingman Cheng Illustrator and Animator 6 years ago
I certainly hope you make a difference.
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Fran Mulhern , Recruit3D6 years ago
Didn't we have someone from this network who was standing as a Tory candidate? Did he win?
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Nope. The good people of Nottingham voted convincingly to keep me in the games industry. :)
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Show all comments (17)
Fran Mulhern , Recruit3D6 years ago
Ah. Unlucky Ewan - you need to keep working for a living:) Just checked your result - don't think you had much hope tbh. Good luck for next time, maybe they'll offer you a safer seat!

Anyway, let's see how the coalition goes, I'm happy to give them the benefit of the doubt. I just hope Gideon doesn't do a Greece, announce things are much worse than expected and bring the whole house down.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Fran Mulhern on 18th May 2010 12:49pm

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Andrew Crystall Designer 6 years ago
I hear something about a couple of game devs and the Brighton seat as well :)
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Bruce Everiss Marketing Consultant 6 years ago
Ed only has 314 links, presumably enough.

I think this is one of the best things to happen to the games industry in Britain for a while. Ed has been to lots of industry events and has listened to lots of people. He knows the industry well and he thinks we can be nurtured to add a lot more value to UK plc. Obviously the last lot have spent all the money so he can't be generous, but there are a thousand other ways he can help. Remember Gordon Brown blamed games for knife crime, so we have come a long way.
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Nicholas Lovell Founder, Gamesbrief6 years ago
The email said Ed has been appointed to the Cabinet. I'm pretty sure he is not the #1 culture minister - that's Jeremy Hunt, isn't it?
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Fran Mulhern , Recruit3D6 years ago
Nicholas, yes, it is. Ed is a junior government minister - a member of the government but not the Cabinet.
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James Poole Managing Director, Sarcastic Hedgehog Ltd6 years ago
He currently holds the position of the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Culture, with responsibilities for Architecture and Heritage, within the Department for Culture, Media and Sport. Unless his role has changed, and Jeremy Hunt is still #1, his role might not be that relevant, but t least it's a voice of sanity in the department.
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Dan Griliopoulos Journalism 6 years ago
Yes, I've not been convinced by Mr Ed when I've seen him speak - he says the same things any politician would say about any industry whose representatives he's talking in front of before an election. Classic Yes Minister or The Thick Of It blather. That said, politicians can sometimes spin expensive policies out randomly from reactive PR that end up fundamentally shifting the path of an industry, so let's hope for something positive like that. ;-)
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Darren Adams Managing Director, ChaosTrend6 years ago
Let us hope that if nothing else, the monetary gain that comes from the games industry to the British economy affords it better treatment by the condem party. Perhaps they may look into the industry more than the Labour government did, but you can never tell with politicians if they are on the level or full of crap.
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David Amor Director, MAG Interactive6 years ago
"And I, for one, welcome our new insect overlords"
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Perhaps daleks in disguise?
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I prefer the term "Coalition of Light"
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Alex Wright-Manning Senior Talent Acquisition Specialist, Datascope6 years ago
David - the prize for most apt use of Simpsons dialogue ever is yours by a country mile.

"Coalition of Light"? I hope your tongue is firmly installed in your cheek Ewan.

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Fran Mulhern , Recruit3D6 years ago
Ewan, I watched Osborne last night, giving his CBI speech. Impressive, although probably also exactly what you'd expect a new Chancellor to say. No reference in his speech, or today's coalition document, to tax breaks for the video games industry, but lots of talk about cutting red tape, reducing corporation tax etc. I have a feeling that, in the short term, we're going to see a "don't focus on tax breaks, look at these other things we're doing for you" approach. That's just my opinion though.

If nothing else, the current government is definitely a welcome breath of fresh air. Saying all the right things, let's hope they can follow through.
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Paul Loman Director, Gamer Network6 years ago
Interesting to note that Ed Vaizey is a junior minister in both Culture Media and Sport and BIS. He is ideally placed to promote support for videogames industry.
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