Call for UK games tax break 'intensifies'

Call for UK games tax break 'intensifies'
Michael French

By Michael French

March 27th 2008 at 10:49AM

Livingstone, Baverstock and Kingsley warn that Government is being too slow to act

If the UK Government doesn't act soon and introduce a friendlier tax climate for developers then Britain will see an 'exodus' of games talent, say senior industry execs.

Speaking in today's Financial Times, Eidos/SCi's Ian Livingstone, Kuju's Ian Baverstock and Rebellion's Jason Kingsely have 'intensified' the call for a UK tax break for games production following SCi's decision to move its production facilities abroad to Montreal.

“The UK has become a very expensive place to develop games,” said Livingstone, creative director at SCi. “Look at the top 20 best-selling games – not one of them is being developed in the UK.”

Baverstock added dismay that the Government has yet to acknowledge the games industry in the way it has the UK film industry: “We make the UK economy a small fortune but are still treated as pariahs. Why they go on giving tax breaks to the film industry but not to us, I don’t understand.”

So far, UK Government has been reluctant to consider its own subsidies - instead saying it would prefer to challange the comfortable tax benefits available in Canada via the World Trade Organisation. However this process is lengthy which, Rebellion's Kingsley added, can only make the matter worse.

He said: "In 10 years’ time we might have a ruling. At that time we will be on the fifth version of the PlayStation, and whether we will still have a games development sector in the UK will be a moot point."