Treasury not drawn in on tax break calls

Treasury not drawn in on tax break calls

By Rob Crossley

January 26th 2011 at 5:30PM

While Culture Department blocks Developâ??s line to Ed Vaizey

The Treasury has issued a response to new calls for game development tax breaks in the UK.

As reported in national media and across numerous industry publications, Tiga today submitted a new paper on games tax relief.

Numerous MPs such as Luciana Berger, Tom Watson and Stewart Hosie have welcomed the report as a matter of urgency.

Tiga predicted that, without government intervention, the UK’s game development workforce would lose over 2,000 jobs – or 24 per cent of its total – by 2015.

A Treasury spokesperson declined to comment when Develop asked if the new report would be treated with a degree of exigency.

“Decisions on tax are a matter for the Chancellor in the Budget,” the spokesperson said.

Tiga CEO Richard Wilson described the Treasury's response as "woefully inadequate".

Meanwhile, the Culture Department refused to inform its minister Ed Vaizey that Develop was seeking comment on Tiga’s report. It said the issue was for the Treasury.

Vaizey has hitherto been the only government minister involved in games industry matters. That in itself has sparked criticism. Recently Vaizey attended a games-based education conference and was asked why no minister for the Education Department was there to speak.

The culture minister explained he was attending as the minister most engaged with the games sector.

Next week Vaizey will be the sole Government attendee at the launch of the Livingstone-Hope Skills Review; an initiative aimed to make changes to the education system and how it interacts with the games industry.

On the issue of supporting UK developers, the Coalition Government hopes numerous businesses will be buoyed by its corporation tax package.

The Treasury told Develop: “A major package of reforms announced in the June 2010 Budget are aimed at creating the most competitive corporate tax regime in the G20, benefiting all businesses, including the UK video games industry.“

New information published yesterday showed the UK economy fell 0.5 per cent in the last three months of 2010. Chancellor George Osborne blamed “bad weather” for the surprise results.

"Our new research demonstrates that the Coalition Government needs a fresh approach and it needs to engage with the video games industry urgently," Wilson added.

"Tiga is ready to meet a Treasury minister anytime, anywhere, to set out the case for Games Tax Relief and enhanced R&D tax credits."