21st March 2012, 08:10 PM
UK game development tax relief returns
Osborne revives tax credit plan for the creative industries first seen in Labour's final budget; Industry welcomes the news.
Today's Budget included a handout to games studios almost two years after they were first mooted in Labour's final budget before their 2010 election defeat. The handout will modelled on the existing film-production tax credit for firms operating in the game development, animation, and "high-end" television production sectors.
This decision marked the conclusion of a long campaign for such a hand-out, and came sooner than had been expected. The measure was described as "poorly targeted" by the incoming coalition government in June 2010, with creative industries minister Ed Vaizey saying that tax relief could be "three or four years" away in December of the same year.
The news was welcomed by Richard Wilson, CEO of industry body Tiga that has been lobbying for such a break for many years. "This is a brilliant decision by the Government and terrific news for the UK video games industry," Wilson said. "It is also a decisive victory won by TIGA through audacity, determination and endurance. Like a boxer knocked down by his opponent, we refused to accept defeat and kept getting back in the ring."
UKIE, the UK Association for Interactive Entertainment, also welcomed the news. The announcement "sends a very positive message to the world for the UK to claim it is the best place to develop games and digital content," according to Ian Livingstone, Eidos' Life President and deputy chair of UKIE.
The tax credits should come into force from April 2013, according to the treasury, "subject to State aid approval and following consultation." They form part of "a new ambition to make the UK the technology hub of Europe," the treasury said.
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