Games industry welcomes Budget tax breaks

After a lengthy appeal from the games industry, the government has finally agreed to tax credits in a bid to make Britain Europe’s “technology centre”.

In today’s Budget, Chancellor George Osborne signalled that he would be giving the games industry a boost with much needed tax credits.

In the announcement he declared that tax credits would “support our video games and animations industries”.  He claimed that that it was the government’s aim to “turn Britain into Europe’s technology centre”.

Calls by the industry, and among MPs, to help one of the shining lights of UK business have been growing for some time.  In areas such as Dundee the games industry has seen strong development, but has been crying out for tax breaks to allow further growth.

While there have been success stories such as RockStar, the industry has faced stiff competition form other countries where it has been cheaper and easier to produce games.

Industry trade body TIGA has been campaigning for four years to get tax breaks to boost the video games sector, and CEO Richard Wilson told TechEye that this is a “colossal victory”.

“What this victory shows is that we have demonstrated that he video games industry is world leading, world beating, and has huge potential to grow,” he said in response to today’s announcement. “It puts it on the same level as the film industry.  Governmental policy makers are recognising that we are not just good at making films in this country, we are also brilliant at making video games.”

As well as the financial benefits, Wilson believes that the decision is indicative of a wider acceptance that the games industry is gaining throughout society.

“It also confirms the cultural value of video games and puts it on a par with film and TV,” he said.

The video game market globally is expected to grow by about eight percent every year until 2016, Wilson said, and by putting vital tax breaks in place this will be making game development cheaper.

Consequently, this means it will be easier to hire staff, to make investments, and to ultimately develop more games.

“Because our sector will grow, we will be contributing to wider economic growth, so it is all part of the wider picture of rebalancing the UK economy,” Wilson said. “It is a massive achievement.”