The Times gets behind UK tax breaks

The Times gets behind UK tax breaks

By Tim Ingham

May 20th 2008 at 3:06PM

National newspaperâ??s business commentator sticks up for UK studiosâ?? right to financial incentives

The campaign by Tiga and UK studios demanding Canadian-style tax breaks has been given a boost – by an unlikely source.

The Times newspaper sticks up for the cause of UK creative talent in its latest business commentary – criticising the government for ignoring the sector whilst bringing in advantageous measures for the film industry.

The article discusses a deluge of lobby groups approaching Chancellor Alistair Darling yesterday.

It pays particular reference to Tiga’s anger over the announcement last week that Georgia is to enact new tax break legislation for entertainment companies – including studios.

Business commentator David Wighton writes:

‘No wonder other lobby groups think it’s worth trying it on to see if Mr Darling will blink again. Yesterday it was the turn of the computer games industry to warn that the playing field was being tilted away from Britain.

‘To suggest that new tax breaks being offered by the US state of Georgia represent a big threat to the British games industry may be a bit over the top. But the industry can argue that it is not treated fairly, particularly in relation to the film industry. The more glamorous movie makers have been very generously assisted by the Government. Indeed, when the Prime Minister was at the Treasury he took a personal interest in measures to encourage film production in Britain.

‘Yet, the British computer games industry is arguably more successful than the film industry. Just look at the British-developed Grand Theft Auto IV, the biggest grossing computer game ever. And computer games development is one of the most footloose industries around. A few smart lads with some computer kit can skip off to a more welcoming regime even more easily than an insurance company.’