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Osborne steadfast in support of UK games tax breaks despite EC investigation

Friday, 3rd May 2013 14:15 GMT By Stephany Nunneley

UK Chancellor George Osborne and Culture minister Ed Vaizey have said that the EU Commission’s investigation into a UK games tax relief will not deter the incentive from being applied.

Speaking during a British Film Commission event celebrating tax breaks for TV and animation, Osborne said the new games subsidies package will help the creative sector grow and contribute to its £36 billion value and vast 1.5 million employment base, reports MCV.

Meanwhile, Vaizey didn’t seem to bothered over the EC investigation, saying it was “nothing unusual”.

“It’s what happened with the French tax relief,” he said. “We are still committed to it – we are writing it into the finance bill now. And we will work as fast as we can with the EU commission [to secure approval].

“A lot of people want to make film, TV and video games in the UK because of the tax breaks.”

Osborne added the breaks would help boost the talent base, which would ultimately make the UK even more attractive to entertainment firms.

“Ultimately a tax change isn’t going to make all the difference in the world – what makes a difference is that we have a skilled talent pool here,” he said.

In April, the European Commission said there was “no obvious market failure” in the UK games sector which required a tax relief to be given to developers. The EC said it would launch an in-depth investigation into the proposed scheme as such an incentive could “fuel a subsidy race between Member States.”

“The market for developing video games is dynamic and commercially promising,” said Joaquin Almunia, Commission VP. “It is not clear whether the taxpayer should be subsidising this activity. Such subsidies could even distort competition.”

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