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UK games industry needs focus in Budget

Sheridans writes to Andy Burnham MP to urge action on receding global position

Sheridans solicitors, which acts on behalf of a number of companies in the media and creative industries, has written to the Secretary of State Andy Burnham MP urging action in the forthcoming Budget to prevent the UK's games business from falling further behind those of other countries.

The crux of the letter involves a renewed request for attention on potential tax breaks which Sheridans feels could significantly benefit the industry - and thereby also the economy in the long term.

The letter notes that research indicates the contraction expected in the industry over a five year period will hit 16.5 per cent, resulting in a loss of GBP 180 million in external investment and 1700 jobs.

The position doesn't compare favourably with conditions in other countries, most significantly Canada, which has seen GBP 1.5 billion on inward investment in the past four years and has grown 42 per cent as a result, while the letter also points out that France as already beginning to benefit from a tax incentive.

"The difference to the Exchequer between implementing a tax relief and not is estimated to be GBP 145 million in 2013 alone," writes Sheridans. "In 2008 the games industry is expected to have directly contributed GBP 130 million to the Exchequer (equivalent to 20 per cent of the turnover in the UK games development industry) with an additional GBP 420 million in direct and multiplier effects.

"Even if the Treasury decides it can do without this additional revenue and does not want to take this opportunity to show how attractive the UK can be as a place to do business, the impact of doing nothing in terms of job losses and damage to the UK's creative and technological skills base will be significant and enduring.

"The games industry employs some of the most highly skilled workers and almost exclusively funds its own skills development. It also provides a real and attractive career option for those with maths and science qualifications and encourages young people to take a continued interest in those subjects."

The letter, made available to GamesIndustry.biz, has been published in full.

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Phil Elliott

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