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TIGA renews call for Games Tax Relief ahead of Budget

New data, reduced scale and new opportunities for small business and start ups in latest report

TIGA has made a new appeal to the government on the subject of Games Tax Relief with a detailed report, hoping to see changes in the March budget.

The revised report, A New Games Tax Relief: An Incentive to Build a Sustainable Games Development Sector, helps to highlight the changes that need to be made, how such changes have positively impacted the French and Canadian game industry communities and the ramifications should the Games Tax Relief not come into effect.

It also includes new data on the state of the UK industry, amendments to the proposed tax relief that reduce scale but open up eligibility and new measures to help start ups.

"The UK video games sector provides high skilled employment in an R&D intensive, export focused industry," said CEO Richard Wilson.

"Our well-targeted Games Tax Relief will generate employment and investment in the UK video games sector and so contribute to economic growth and to the rebalancing of our economy away from an over-dependence on financial services. The Government has an opportunity to back our sector in the March Budget: it must seize the chance."

TIGA stated that as well as heavy investment in the UK industry, the Games Tax Relief would create 4,660 jobs. This would be a stark contrast to the picture painted by TIGA's latest data, which shows that 41 per cent of jobs lost in the UK between 2009 and 2011 moved abroad. A large number of those relocated to Canada, a country where the tax reliefs for games are well publicised.

"The UK has one of the most capable and creative development workforces, and a long history of innovation and leadership in digital media," added Activison Worldwide Studios SVP Brian Ward.

"However, this leadership position has been lost to other countries that have aggressively pursued job creation and economic diversification via tax incentive programs aimed at games and digital media. The introduction of Games Tax Relief in the UK would level the playing field and make the UK competitive again. As has been amply proven in other jurisdictions, Games Tax Relief will lead to increased investment, significant job creation and economic growth. Games Tax Relief is good for the UK games industry and good for the UK economy."

Neon Play, Thumbstar Games, Blitz Studios, Jagex and Denki all lend their support to the new plans, and UKIE hope that the new evidence will have an impact on the 2012 budget, which Chancellor George Osborne has confirmed will take place on March 21.

"The opportunity for Britain is clear," said John Whittingdale OBE MP, who showed his support for the report by contributing the foreword.

"The global games industry has grown by 23 per cent through the global financial turmoil, and is projected to grow by over 8 per cent each year to 2015. If the right support from Government is forthcoming, the UK game development sector can take advantage of this projected growth, consequently contributing to the rebalancing of the UK economy."

Last week French tax breaks came under threat, which lead Heavy Rain developer Quantic Dream to threaten to relocate.

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Rachel Weber

Senior Editor

Rachel Weber has been with GamesIndustry since 2011 and specialises in news-writing and investigative journalism. She has more than five years of consumer experience, having previously worked for Future Publishing in the UK.