Ed Vaizey appears to be backing away from promise of tax relief ‘in our first budget’
Fresh uncertainties have been cast over the Lib-Con government’s intention to deliver on its pre-election promise of game development tax breaks.
Trade site Gamesindustry.biz says it has heard from ‘political insiders’, who state that a game development tax breaks scheme for the UK is now off the table.
The anonymous source, or sources, said that it would be “impossible" and "political suicide" for the coalition government to implement game tax breaks during these early days into the new administration.
Culture Minister Ed Vaizey today told journalists he personally “still supports a video games tax credit”, but added that the issue is timing.
Vaizey said that tax relief of this kind would need European Commission approval, and inferred that this could take as long as two years.
He had previously attacked Labour's tax break strategy for this reason.
Weeks into the build up of the May 5th General election, Vaizey told Develop that his party would implement game development tax breaks “in our first budget”.
David Cameron’s cabinet is currently fixated on cutting an unprecedented £163 billion budget deficit left behind from a thirteen-year Labour rule.
Sources from civil service had previously told Develop that game tax breaks were ‘on hold’ for now – though stated that the Lib-Con administration would have to ‘put the brakes on’ to stop such a policy, which was set in train during the final months of the Labour government.
And despite Vaizey today lauding the importance of game tax breaks, reports suggest that the man in charge of the Culture department appeared a touch less enthusiastic.
According to a tweet from FT journalist Tim Bradshaw, Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt was “toning down what Vaizey said”.
As claimed in the tweeted report, Hunt said that he would love a tax credit for games but he needs help making such an argument to the Treasury.
Prior to the General Election, Develop accused the Conservative Party of not being in full alliance with TIGA’s policy of game tax breaks, and Develop accused the Conservative Party of not delivering a detailed and clear pledge for game tax breaks.
These accusations were published after multiple sources claimed to have little faith in the Conservatives regarding the issue.
The promised 'game tax brerak mini-manifesto' failed to materialise.
A timeline of the events can be found here.