TIGA: "We are looking at other measures"
Not wavering on tax relief following Vaizey talk, but admits "we have to be practical"
TIGA boss RIchard Wilson has told GamesIndustry.biz that the trade association is not going to waver on pursuing tax relief, but admits the need for other measures as well.
Following a talk by MP Ed Vaizey this morning at the Develop conference, in which the minister refused to confirm that he would still push for tax relief himself, there has been speculation that the industry should refocus its efforts on other forms of assistance.
"It's obviously going to be more of challenge," said Wilson when asked what would happen if the industry had indeed lost its most proactive ally in government on the matter of tax relief. "But politicians are not known for their consistency."
"We are going to carry on campaign for games tax relief, or a very similar political measure. We believe most of our members want us to do that. Ultimately we think we're going to win. It's just going to be a marathon rather than a sprint," he said.
"But we have to be practical. We are going to look at other measures as well. We're not a one-trick pony. We obviously do try and influence government policy in other areas as well, like the R&D tax credits, perhaps making venture capital trusts more suitable for investment in the games industry.
"But certainly TIGA members and I believe the games industry as whole do want us to fight the flag for games tax relief. I don't think we can let people down on that front."
While Wilson declined to be drawn into specific comment on Vaizey's speech, he did address the minister's argument that R&D tax credits would provide a significant boost to the games industry. "These are quite limited things that you can claim on, but every penny helps. The R&D tax credits are nice to have but they aren't game changing. That's why we need tax relief."
When asked whether Vaizey's evasiveness today suggested that the tax relief ship had sailed, he argued that "It would be difficult for the Conservative party and the Liberal Democrat party to just drop games tax relief when the Labour party, the SNP and some people in their own party actually back it."
On the presence of Canadian officials at Develop, seeking to attract British developers to its provinces by sponsoring post-conference drinks and handing out Novia Scotia scarves, he said "I admire their chutzpah. I'll be delighted to give that tartan flag to my daughter and I'm delighted that the Canadians are spending some of their money on me. May there be much more of it."