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Cecil: Publishers did lobby against tax breaks

Foreign-owned publishing companies allegedly concerned by cultural tests for tax relief

Revolution Software's Charles Cecil has told GamesIndustry.biz that foreign-owned publishing companies have lobbied against tax breaks for the UK industry, fuelling Chancellor George Osborne's decision to axe proposed relief for the games sector.

While TIGA, with the help of the games development community, has lobbied tirelessly for tax breaks for over two years, publishers outside of the country have been against such help, confusing the message to MPs and the Treasury, said Cecil.

"When I met a number of MPs back in March, I was advised that they were receiving mixed messages from certain quarters of the industry, that foreign-owned publisher(s) were lobbying against a tax break," offered Cecil.

"These publishers were, I was told, concerned by the implications of a cultural test (i.e. supporting games developed in the UK / featuring UK subject matter over those from abroad) that would accompany a tax break regime."

While Cecil stopped short of calling the lobbying 'sabotage', he said that such a move certainly fuelled the decision to scrap a scheme that would have introduced tax breaks in the UK.

"The word 'sabotage' is emotive - but there is no doubt that the effect of this lobbying gave ammunition to those in government who opposed the initiative and frustrated those MPs who supported it," he said.

Earlier today, TIGA's Richard Wilson told GamesIndustry.biz that he believed it was the Treasury, and not the hand of a publishing company, that put a stop to relief plans, while ELSPA's Michael Rawlinson suggested there should not be a witch hunt to out those opposed to tax breaks.

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Matt Martin


Matt Martin joined GamesIndustry in 2006 and was made editor of the site in 2008. With over ten years experience in journalism, he has written for multiple trade, consumer, contract and business-to-business publications in the games, retail and technology sectors.