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ELSPA: Most important election result is a strong, stable government

Trade body will work with any party to gain industry benefits, says Rawlinson

Michael Rawlinson, the director general of trade association ELSPA has told GamesIndustry.biz that the most important result to come out of the general election will be a strong and stable government that is capable of making decisions.

Anything else, he said, will be bad for the games industry and for the country as a whole as parliament is "paralysed" and unable to support key industry issues such as education, IP protection and tax breaks.

However, he said that ELSPA's job was to work with the government that is formed "whatever colour it is".

"We've built strong links across all three parties - we've demonstrated that in the ability to gain cross party support through the PEGI campaign," he said.

"As a trade association representing the industry our job is to work with the government whatever colour it is. There's a lot of party support for our skills agenda. There is, in principal, cross party support for protecting intellectual property although there are differences of opinion around the outcome of the digital economy act with regards to file sharing.

"However our agenda revolves around skills, crime, IP protection and tax breaks and we need a government that can move forward with those agendas.

"We want the consultation on tax breaks to get issued so that we can start to respond to that and the legislation that would need to go to parliament and then to Brussels for approval.

"But quite frankly none of that is going to happen until we've got a government that has some validity and is stable and there's going to be a lot of negotiations taking place over the next 24, 48 or even more hours," he added.

"I don't think we'll see a clear position probably until after the weekend so I'm not going to speculate on who I'm going to be talking to when that time comes.

"But whoever it is chances are I'll know them, I'll have their number in my phone and I'll be able to pick up the phone and say, 'welcome and let's have a meeting.'"

Whether ELSPA will be able to work with them on key issues, Rawlinson said depended on "their side of the table".

"How capable are they as part of a new government to actually make any decisions? Or is it going to be so paralysed because it's such a coalition that every decision has to be taken back to a mass table where everybody has to put their two-pennies-worth in and says are we for it or aren't we for it?

"If we have that sort of indecisiveness, it's a weak government or it's not stable because at any point anyone can pull out and jettison the coalition then nothing will happen," he said.

Speaking about ELSPA's pre-election event which included members from all three of the major parties, Rawlinson said it had been demonstrated that all of them saw the creative industries, with games as an important part of those industries, as being a driver to economic recovery.

"The door is certainly open to our industry and we will seize that opportunity," he said.

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Kath Brice

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