UK trade body TIGA has thrown support behind a scheme to introduce a 30% tax relief rate for the local games industry.
Although TIGA is campaigning for a flat tax relief rate, it is also willing to support a rate of 30% on projects of up to £250,000 and 25% beyond this amount. It wants to see tax relief extended post-launch, and to cover educational, small and large projects alike.
The organisation points out that Canada, France, Singapore & the US have tax relief schemes in place for the games industry, while the UK, once one of the most important international games development hubs, does not.
According to the results of TIGA’s surveys, the UK’s games industry has declined by 10% since 2008, with investment dropping by £47 million. 41% of the jobs lost to the UK dev sector have relocated overseas since 2009.
TIGA claims games are designed in the UK but developed overseas in tax relief-equipped nations, and that as a result, fewer titles with British cultural themes being produced. TIGA believes that five years worth of tax relief would cause the games industry to boost investment and job creation, secure over 4,660 direct and indirect highly skilled jobs, invest £188 million in jobs and games development, increase the games development sector’s contribution to UK GDP by £283 million, and contribute £172 million to the UK treasury.
“TIGA aims to strengthen the UK video games sector and to ensure that the industry supports the wider economic recovery,” CEO Richard Wilson said.
“If [games tax relief] is designed to support both small budget games and larger projects, provides a significant level of relief and incentivises continuous content creation, then we can achieve these objectives. Games are increasingly being developed as a service, with a large amount of the content being created and released post-launch, and the game evolving over time. So it is important that studios are able to claim relief on costs arising after the release of a game.
“TIGA strongly welcomes the growing political consensus in favour of GTR and the recognition by the UK Coalition Government of the economic and cultural importance of the video games industry. A well designed Games Tax Relief will power the industry forward and contribute to economic growth.”