Braben: UK Govt are bankers at heart

Braben: UK Govt are bankers at heart
David Braben

By David Braben

December 9th 2009 at 5:21PM

Frontier founder on the Governmentâ??s failure to act, and failure to care

Seeing the news today, I don’t think we genuinely expected to get a games tax break, sadly.

The Government may have said it’s not convinced by tax break proposals, but it’s been saying that for three years now.

They keep asking for a more in-depth report proposing for tax breaks, we keep giving it to them.

Despite the government’s public protestations, I don’t think the individuals involved in this actually care, really. That’s the bottom line. MPs don’t care.

The interim Digital Britain report spoke volumes to me. There was no mention of the games industry and yet we are one of the biggest industries they have in the digital sector.

It’s obvious that the UK Government are bankers at heart. Tax incentives for the film industry are just hangovers from the past; I’m sure the Government wouldn’t start that initiative now if it had the choice.

The thing is, these are difficult times and the government are seeing tax breaks as a cost.

So I was saddened, but not surprised by today’s news.

Obviously you hope that the UK Government has done something sensible, but if you look at what they’ve done in every sector – the way the steel industry is being handled, the way the banking sector is being mismanaged, the way the bonus fiasco is only being handled only now – it’s just all very amateur.

Some are arguing that it’s the wrong time to fight for tax breaks. Well, for the government, it’s always the ‘wrong time’.

If you talk to the Canadian government, they’ll tell you that their tax breaks have cost them about CA$500 million, and yet it has already raised CA$1.5 billion in inward investment and revenue.

There are a lot of wider considerations here. Right now the UK Government is fairly rudderless, it’s hosing the banks down with money.

The question I want to put to the UK government is, what do they think will be the sectors that thrive for them in the future.

What will be their champion of their creative industries?

The game industry has been great for Britain. And it has the potential to be so in the future.