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UK govt doesn't track videogames investment

By Phil Elliott

Tue 31 Mar 2009 11:49am GMT / 7:49am EDT / 4:49am PDT

Lack of DCMS financial records is "a great shame," says Tiga boss


TIGA is the trade association representing the UKs games industry. The majority of our members are...

The UK government has no idea how much it has given in financial assistance to the videogames industry since the Labour Party came to power in 1997.

That's according to an answer given to Conservative MP Philip Davies in response to a written question addressed to the Department of Culture, Media and Sports yesterday.

"The information requested could be provided only at disproportionate cost," replied Parliamentary under-secretary Barbara Follett. "We do not have the specific figures broken down by sector or year."

But that lack of information is "a great shame" according to Tiga CEO Richard Wilson, who told that it was therefore impossible to track any progress based on investments.

"The government needs good quality information if it is to implement plans that benefit economic sectors," he said. "However, the government's admission today that it supports the videogames sector but doesn't record the amount of financial support means that it cannot effectively measure its impact.

"This is a great shame - the government needs to record and assess its financial assessments in order to make better policy in the future."

The DCMS went on to outline examples of support, such as R&D tax credits assigned by the Technology Strategy Board, but also admitted that it employs more than twice the number of full time staff for the film industry as it does for the videogames industry.

"The current full-time equivalent number of officials working on policy to assist the film industry is 3.7," said Follett, adding, "The current full-time equivalent number of officials working on policy to assist the video games industry is 1.5."

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