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UK govt "looking at introducing further tax breaks" for industry

House of Commons exchange reveals Digital Britain final report to be published shortly

The UK government has admitted that there is a strong possibility that the videogames industry could benefit from additional tax breaks, following the publication of the final Digital Britain report, due shortly.

The revelation came in a House of Commons exchange yesterday between Labour MPs Tom Watson, and the new culture secretary, Ben Bradshaw.

"Will my honourable Friend ensure that 'Digital Britain' takes heed of the interests of the very successful UK videogames industry?" asked Watson. "Videogames make their players think, and they challenge them and make them focus, and many people in Britain believe that a medium that does that should be elevated to an art form.

"I hope my honourable Friend's Department gives the videogames industry a similar status to that of the UK music and film industries.

To which Bradshaw then replied: "I assure my honourable Friend that we do recognise the importance of the videogames industry to the British economy.

"Research and development tax credits are available for the industry, and we are looking at introducing further tax breaks. We will deal with the issue of classification, and other announcements that will, I think, please my honourable Friend will form part of the final report."

Meanwhile TIGA CEO Richard Wilson has called on the Conservative to encourage more stimuli for the games industry, specifically a tax break along similar lines to that available in France and approved by the EU.

"With specific reference to the videogames industry, the Conservative Party's Review Group should support a tax break for games production, similar to the European Union approved French tax credit," he said.

"This would help to ensure that the UK videogames development sector remains world beating. Industry research predicts that if a 20 per cent production tax credit was introduced, investment would increase by GBP 220 million over five years, generating a further 1600 graduate jobs over the same period.

"This tax break would cost HM Treasury GBP 150 million over five years," he added.

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