Scottish developers plea for Government aid

Scottish developers plea for Government aid
Will Freeman

By Will Freeman

October 30th 2009 at 2:09PM

Tiga and NESTA back call for support

Speaking at Tiga and NESTA's Scotland In Focus event, a number of veteran's of the region's industry have called on the nation's Government to offer more support to the sector.

Hosted by Joe Fitzpatrick, MSP for Dundee West, the event included speeches from Realtime Worlds studio Manager Colin Macdonald, Denki MD Colin Anderson and Jeff Meek, head of technology and media at chartered accountants and business advisory firm French Duncan.

“The Scottish development sector has a combined current turnover of approximately £20m and employs over 700 highly skilled, creative and talented staff, said Tiga CEO Richard Wilson. "Dundee is the epicenter for the industry in Scotland. However there are also important games companies located across the country, including Edinburgh, Fife and Perthshire.

“This highly successful and growing economic sector has great potential. Yet it faces serious challenges: skills shortages, a brain drain of talented staff to development businesses overseas, and a competitive environment characterised by overseas governments giving substantial assistance to their games industries - typically in the form of tax breaks for games production - which puts Scottish developers in particular and the UK games industry in general at a serious competitive disadvantage.”

Scotland In Focus drew attention to a number of areas in which the organisers argued the country's Government could help. Proposals included suggesting that the Scottish authorities assist in establishing UK-wide games tax relief for games production, help better promote of the Scottish games industry as one of the country’s 'most exciting and promising' sectors, and deliver more and effective investment in education at all levels.

"TIGA has been working hard to raise the profile of the industry in the UK and this is the first time we as an industry in Scotland have joined forces to approach Government in this way," stated MacDonald. “Intense international competition means that we now need the Government to step up to the plate and back our industry. We are not looking for hand outs, we just want a more level playing field to ensure our industry can survive in Scotland."

Meek, who is also TIGA treasurer added: “The video games industry in Scotland is knowledge intensive and extremely vibrant. Fiscal reform in the form of a games tax relief must go hand in hand with better promotion of Scotland as a good place to live and work, and long term investment in skills and education. The global marketplace is highly competitive and we must fight hard to ensure we safeguard high-tech industries which create the jobs and skills which will drive Scotland’s long term economic growth.”