Osborne cancels UK videogame tax relief [UPDATE]
Update: TIGA has issued a statement condemning the Government for its decision in today's budget, calling it a "broken pre-election promise".
It's a bit lengthy, and below the original report.
Original: UK Chancellor George Osborne has confirmed that tax relief promised to the UK games industry by the previous Labour government will no longer go ahead.
During his budget speech at Westminster today, he briefly stated that the "planned tax relief for the videogames industry will be cancelled."
Former Chancellor Alastair Darling had previously promised the games industry would receive tax relief to bring it into line with the UK film industry.
The UK games industry currently receives no tax cuts, apparently.
Update: TIGA CEO Dr. Richard Wilson has issued a statement condemning the Government for its decision in today's budget meeting.
“The Coalition Government has broken pre-election pledges made by the Conservative Party and by the Liberal Democrats to support and introduce Games Tax Relief," he said.
“Unless the Coalition Government introduces Games Tax Relief or a similar fiscal measure then the UK will forfeit millions of pounds in inward investment, jobs will be lost and we will cease to be a leading developer of video games. The UK video games industry is export oriented, high tech, highly skilled and low carbon in output. This is an industry of the future which the Government should be supporting with action, not words.
“With regards to the reduction in corporation tax, this is welcome but does not address the specific needs of the video games sector.”
“Nevertheless, the strength of our arguments, our implacable resolve and our unrelenting focus has ensured that in the run up today’s Emergency Budget, Games Tax Relief has received serious consideration at the highest levels of Government. Additionally, TIGA has created a broad coalition in favour of Games Tax Relief: the Conservatives, Liberal Democrats, the Labour Party and the Scottish National Party have all previously expressed their support for Games Tax Relief. Unfortunately, the state of the public finances has prevented the introduction of Games Tax Relief. TIGA will continue to refine the case for Games Tax Relief, or a similar fiscal measure. We will work with developers and publishers to deliver this critical policy measure. We will not give up. We will also continue to campaign for a range of additional measures to ensure that the UK is the best place in the world in which to do games business.”
Jason Kingsley, TIGA Chairman and CEO and Creative Director of Rebellion Studios, said:
“TIGA has made a real impact in getting Games Tax Relief considered at the highest political level. It is hugely disappointing that the Coalition Government has decided not to introduce this tax measure, especially given the existence of tax relief for other sectors of the economy. However, TIGA will continue to lead the campaign for Games Tax Relief in the months ahead. Games Tax Relief or a similar fiscal measure is the industry’s top priority. Other policy issues are entirely secondary. We need a tax environment which allows UK games businesses to compete on a level footing with our overseas competitors.”
Gareth Edmondson, TIGA Vice-Chairman and Managing Director, Ubisoft Reflections, said:
“The Government has missed an opportunity by not providing for Games Tax Relief in the Budget. However, TIGA’s campaign for Games Tax Relief has raised awareness about the video games industry in Government and in Parliament. The medium-term prospects for Games Tax Relief are positive. TIGA will continue to strive to make the UK the best place to do games business.”
Expect more back and forth for a while yet, we reckon.