Scotland fights on for game tax cuts

Scotland fights on for game tax cuts

By Rob Crossley

January 5th 2010 at 10:00AM

Culture secretary Fiona Hyslop slams Labourâ??s pre-budget â??tax snubâ??

The Scottish government has distanced itself from the UK’s decision to neglect plans for game development tax relief.

Culture secretary Fiona Hyslop told Develop that the UK government’s recent tax snub reflected poorly on how Westminster views Britain’s creative industries.

“Scottish-based game developers have been highlighting for some time that tax incentives offered by the likes of France and Canada are becoming increasingly attractive,” she said.

“Games are a Scottish success story. If the UK Government cannot step up, and allow Scottish games development companies to compete on a level playing field, it is a sad indication of how much it values creativity and our creative industries.”

Hyslop’s comments come as Gordon Brown makes claims that Britain can be a “global leader” in the digital creative industries.

Scottish Parliament does not currently hold powers to establish its own tax systems or make amendments to UK tax policies. Develop understands that – had the Scottish government been given the choice – it would have likely employed a tax relief scheme for its native game studios such as Rockstar North and Realtime Worlds.

“The industry is telling us what it needs and this Government is listening,” said Hyslop.
 
“Despite no positive news in the pre-budget report, we will continue to make the case to the UK Government until it recognises the urgency of this problem and takes action that will benefit the industry and benefit Scotland.

“The Scottish Government is doing all it can to support games developers in Scotland – for example – with the £2.4 million investment of European Regional Development Fund and SFC funding to support emerging game developers.

“We will continue to do all in our power to support the industry and with the right fiscal powers could already have done more.”

With a general election looming it is widely thought that any proposals for game development tax breaks are now entirely off the table.

Scottish studio Realtime Worlds recently told Develop that the tax snub would force studios out of the UK.