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Wilson hits back at Ramsdale over tax breaks

TIGA CEO calls for unity after EA chief's questioning of policy

Chief executive of TIGA, Richard Wilson has responded to statements made by EA's Keith Ramsdale in an interview last week, by calling for a unified industry position on the issue of tax breaks.

Ramsdale's position, laid out in a GamesIndustry.biz interview on January 7, is that the UK industry needs to take a step back and reconsider its approach to tax break lobbying, considering alternatives instead of risking alienation by continuing to push its case.

Wilson, in an interview with Nukezilla published today, has said that Ramsdale's allusions to the tax breaks as a "dead horse" are "bonkers", and damaging to parliament's perception of the industry as united and resolute.

"The truth of the matter is that the UK is not competing on a level playing field, we know this don't we? You know this, I know this, Keith knows this," Wilson told Nukezilla.

"We have to campaign for UK tax relief as part of a very sensible package of measures not just to help the UK videogames industry but the entire UK economy. Because actually if we had a powerful, successful and growing videogames industry it would be good for the coalition government and good for the overall economy."

"So I completely disagree with Keith's point and I think it's a great shame actually that he's made these remarks because it really damages any unity within the games industry."

Ramsdale, who sits on the board of the industry's other trade body, UKIE, had made clear that although he sees the tax breaks as a positive idea long-term, there are other aims which would be more easily achieved, more immediately - and that pursuit of these should take priority for fear of turning away the few listening ears which industry pressure has gained in parliament.

"The fact of the matter is that you can flog a dead horse - that's a pretty good term for this," Ramsdale told GamesIndustry.biz. "I'll refer you back to the finance packages that we're talking to government about. There are a number of items on there that we're talking about, and a year or two ago R&D tax credits would have been at the top of that list.

"It's still on there now, but it's further down, because it's clear that it won't happen - but it's not gone away, we're still talking about it on a regular basis. But if we just keep going in every time we speak about R&D tax credits, they're just going to stop engaging with us.

"What they want to know is, what alternatives are there? And that's why we're having a proper conversation with them."

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Dan Pearson