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UK tax breaks have helped finance 480 video games

In fact, more games have benefitted from tax relief than TV productions

The UK government has released fresh statistics on the number of creative endeavours that have benefitted from the tax credits introduced for various industries, including video games.

HM Treasury revealed that Britain's creative sectors have received a record £850 million in support over the past year. The latest statistics show that 100 new video games claimed for tax relief over the past 12 months, representing UK expenditure of £131 million.

Games are actually able to make several claims during the production process, so over the past year £105 million has been paid out to 345 claims.

Overall, video games are in fact the second biggest category when it comes to tax relief for screen industries. Since each scheme was introduced, starting with film in 2007, tax credits have benefitted 2,420 films, 480 video games, 310 TV programmes, 145 animation productions, 75 children's programmes - a fine accomplishment for games given that the TV relief was introduced a whole year before our industry was given the green light.

Those 480 video games now represent over £1 billion of UK expenditure, with £230 million paid out to 770 claims since the initiative was introduced in April 2014.

Interestingly, the majority of video games claims are actually for lower amounts. 60 per cent of all claims requested £50,000 or less. Meanwhile, only 13 per cent claim for £500,000 or more - although these account for 84 per cent of the total amount paid out.

The financial secretary to the Treasury and Paymaster General Mel Stride said: "The UK's world class creative industries - from films to video games to orchestras - are championing culture and innovation both at home and abroad. We supported these vital businesses with a record £850 million of tax relief last year, helping to boost growth across the country and contributeo to the UK's rich cultural fabric."

TIGA CEO Dr Richard Wilson said: "The video games industry has proved broadly resilient to the wider economic turbulence of Brexit and uncertainties around trade tariffs. Yet this doesn't mean we can take our eyes off the prize of the UK becoming the leading place in the world to make video games. We have a way to go and - as ever - more can be done.

"The UK games industry has a bright future, but only if we remain steadfast in our commitment to ensuring it - and thus the UK economy as whole - prospers."

Dr Jo Twist, CEO of UKIE, added: “It's great to see a positive uptake on claiming Video Games Tax Relief, and it reflects the flexibility of the system for games as a service claims. But we know there are a lot more companies who could be using it. It's a modern system that supports a modern industrial model.

"There is advice and support available from BFI and legal or accountancy firms to guide businesses through the steps. VGTR is critical to the growth of the industry and provides an important incentive and confidence in UK games development. It opens up routes to financing and, along with funds such as the UK Games Fund, is invaluable for developers of all sizes. We look forward to the BFI's economic impact assessment report expected later this year, which will show how much return on investment is being delivered back to the UK economy for every £1 in tax relief.”

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James Batchelor


James Batchelor is Editor-in-Chief at GamesIndustry.biz. He has been a B2B journalist since 2006, and an author since he knew what one was