Trade association TIGA has published a manifesto outlining the priorities it believes the next Parliament should focus on with regards to the UK games industry.
The three priorities it lays out in 'The UK video games industry: an agenda for the next Parliament' include the introduction of Games Tax Relief as soon as possible and the retention and expansion of the Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) R&D tax credit scheme.
TIGA also calls for a reduction in tuition fees for students studying mathematics and computer sciences degrees, in order to tackle the skills shortages facing the industry, and for greater collaborate between the games industry and educators, and between trade bodies and the Government.
"TIGA’s vision is to make the UK the best place in the world to do games business," said TIGA CEO Richard Wilson. "TIGA’s manifesto for the next Parliament sets out a strategy to help realize this vision, providing the next Parliament with a concrete set of policies that will support the video games industry and foster its long-term continued growth.
"TIGA’s proposals address the key challenges our industry faces - from skill shortages and the lack of appropriately qualified graduates, through to specific tax, fiscal and monetary policies, encouraging investment in new IP, research and development, workforce development, education, business support, combating piracy and the UK classification system.
"We hope to work closely with the next Government and all Parliamentarians on these policies and we will continue to campaign hard to promote the agenda of the UK video games industry."
The manifesto contains 30 policies for the Government, which are published below. The full manifesto can be found on the TIGA website.
- 01 There should be no increase in the tax burden on UK businesses in general and on the video games industry in particular.
- 02 The Chancellor and the Bank of England should aim to keep base rates comparatively low, while aiming to hit the inflation target of 2 per cent on the Consumer Prices Index. A relatively loose monetary policy should help to reduce the cost of bank finance and other things being equal keep sterling relatively competitive.
- 03 Games Tax Relief should be introduced at the earliest opportunity.
- 04 Corporation tax rates should ideally be cut by at least one per cent during the next Parliament. Failing this, the rates should be frozen.
- 05 The planned increases in Employers' National Insurance Contributions (NICs) should be abandoned. NICs should ideally be cut by one per cent during the next Parliament.
- 06 The rate of relief under the SME R&D tax credit scheme should be increased from 175 per cent of qualifying expenditure to 200 per cent. Engineers and scientists should be recruited into HMRC specialist R&D Tax Credit evaluation units.
- 07 The provisions that exclude some Intellectual Property (IP) businesses from attracting tax efficient investment under the Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS) and Venture Capital Trust (VCT) scheme should be removed.
- 08 The value of corporation tax losses (whereby companies can 'carry-back' corporation tax losses against profits of the previous year) should be increased to help small companies.
- 09 The basic income tax rate of 20 per cent and the higher rate of 40 per cent should be retained. Thresholds should be linked to inflation to avoid the effect of fiscal drag. The 50 per cent rate should be abolished.
- 10 The introduction of the patent box regime, for 10 per cent corporation tax on royalty income from patents, should be introduced in April 2012, rather than 2013.
- 11 The introduction of a pilot SME Training Tax Relief (TTR) should be considered. This tax measure would operate in a similar way to the existing R&D tax credits. SMEs would be able to offset expenditure on training, Continuous Professional Development (CPD) for staff and education outreach activities against corporation tax
- 12 The supply of good quality mathematics and science teachers in schools should be increased through incentives such as bursaries, 'golden hellos' and writing off of student loans.
- 13 Schools should be given the freedom and resources to teach alternative academic qualifications to GCSEs and A Levels that are acceptable entry qualifications for universities.
- 14 Schools should have greater flexibility over pay to enable them to attract good teachers and to ease shortages.
- 15 The video games industry should be promoted as a career option at school to encourage the study of science and mathematics subjects.
- 16 Expenditure on higher education should be increased to ensure that UK universities remain internationally competitive and can provide world beating tertiary education.
- 17 Tuition fees for students studying mathematics and computer science degrees should be reduced or kept competitively priced.
- 18 Industrial secondments between universities and games businesses should be promoted.
- 19 University research funding for curiosity driven research should be protected and ideally increased.
- 20 Train to Gain should be made even more flexible and used to fund a greater variety of courses at all levels.
- 21 The funding gap between FE colleges and schools should be eliminated as soon as practically possible.
- 22 Skillset, the Sector Skills Council for Creative Media, should promote STEM subjects and art and animation courses at school, and support those working in the games industry to undertake higher level training.
- 23 Knowledge transfer between universities and games businesses should be encouraged.
- 24 More financial support for video games should be delivered through national programmes. Existing Regional Development Agency funding for video games is irrational and inequitable.
- 25 Accredited trade organisations like TIGA should be able to use UK Trade & Investment (UKT&I) grants to cover travel and accommodation costs as well exhibition expenses.
- 26 Maintain a relatively lightly regulated labour market in order to enable UK games businesses to operate as flexibly as possible.
- 27 To tackle piracy, IP owners should be encouraged to adopt new technological solutions and business models. The most egregious serial pirates should be prosecuted.
- 28 The Pan-European Games Information (PEGI) age ratings system should be made compulsory for all boxed games designed for those aged 12 or above.
- 29 Government ministers in Whitehall and in Edinburgh and politicians in Westminster and Holyrood should engage with trade associations such as TIGA when devising policy. TIGA is a voluntary organisation that genuinely represents the video games sector.
- 30 There is no case for creating either a new UK Video Games Council or for extending the remit of the existing Film Council to embrace the video games sector. Government departments in Whitehall should continue the existing process of holding regular meetings with industry trade associations.