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Livingstone: Govt response to Skills Review delayed for "good reason"

"More positive" reaction expected after PM admits UK must do more to teach programming

It may be well overdue, but Ian Livingstone has revealed that recent developments should mean the formal Government response to his Skills Review will be "more positive" than the industry was "previously expecting".

Speaking to GamesIndustry.biz, the Eidos life president said: "I can confirm that the delay in the Government's response to Next Gen is for a good reason."

Whilst he would not elaborate further, it is believed that comments made last week by the Prime Minister have given the industry's case renewed momentum in anticipation of the official statement from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport.

"I am now very hopeful of getting a more positive response to the report than we were previously anticipating," said Livingstone, adding that this was "great news" for the industry.

Speaking to the BBC in London's Tech City last week, David Cameron admitted that the Government was "not doing enough to actually teach the next generation of programmers."

This echoed the findings of the Government-backed Livingstone-Hope report on skills in the UK games and visual effects industries, published earlier this year. The report found that the education system was failing to equip new talent with the right skills, and called for computer science to be included in the national curriculum and for teachers to promote the study of art and science together.

The report was given a huge boost in late August when Google chairman Eric Schmidt, during a talk in Scotland, said he was "flabbergasted to learn that today computer science isn't even taught as standard in UK schools", warning that the UK was "throwing away [its] great computer heritage", while stressing the "need to bring art and science back together."

"It's as though he lifted his comments straight from Next Gen," Livingstone commented after the speech.

GamesIndustry.biz understands that several meetings between the UK games industry and Government have taken place in the last week as the official response is finalised.

Amid speculation that it could now come as early as this week, the DCMS would not be drawn. A spokesperson said this afternoon: "We haven't got a fixed date. [But] it shouldn't be too long."

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Johnny Minkley

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Johnny Minkley is a veteran games writer and broadcaster, former editor of Eurogamer TV, VP of gaming charity SpecialEffect, and hopeless social media addict.

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