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Famous Five to Boost the UK

p>TIGA, the network for games developers and digital publishers and the trade association representing the video games industry, has welcomed the publication of the Government’s five foundations to improve UK productivity, together with its commitment to increasing investment in R&D, skills and attracting the world’s most talented and innovative people. However, TIGA urged the Government to introduce TIGA’s proposed Games Investment Fund (http://tiga.org/news/tiga-calls-for-the-launch-of-a-games-investment-fund-2) and the British Games Institute (http://tiga.org/news/gaming-heavyweights-urge-government-to-fund-british-games-institute-to-support-uk-economic-and-cultural-growth) to drive growth and productivity still further in the sector. TIGA made the comments in response to the Government’s Industrial Strategy White Paper which was published today (see here).

The Government’s Industrial Strategy, which aims to increase the UK’s productivity, rests on five foundations:

 

  1. Ideas: the world’s most innovative economy.
  2. People: good jobs and greater earning power for all.
  3. Infrastructure: a major upgrade to the UK’s infrastructure.
  4. Business environment: the best place to start and grow a business.
  5. Places: prosperous communities across the UK.

 

Key policies in these five areas include:

 

  1. Ideas: e.g. raise total research and development (R&D) investment to 2.4 per cent of GDP by 2027 and increase the rate of R&D tax credit to 12 per cent.
  2. People: e.g. invest £406 million in maths, digital and technical education to boost STEM skills; create a National Retraining Scheme with £64 million investment for digital and construction training; and establish a world class technical education system.
  3. Infrastructure: e.g. boost digital infrastructure by over £1 billion of public investment, including £176 million for 5G and £200 million for local areas to encourage roll out of full fibre networks.
  4. Business environment: e.g. a new £2.5 billion Investment Fund, incubated in the British Business Bank; and Sector Deals – partnerships between government and industry aiming to increase sector productivity.
  5. Places: e.g. create a new Transforming Cities fund that will provide £1.7 billion for intra-city transport, and so drive productivity by improving connections within city regions.

 

The White Paper did not set out a Sector Deal for the creative industries. However, it did include details of the deal for the sector (page 203). It includes the following Government commitments:

 

  • investment in immersive technologies, such as virtual and augmented reality from the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund, allowing creative businesses to develop the products, services and experiences of the future;
  • support for eight research partnerships between creative businesses of all sizes and universities with significant commercial potential through the Arts and Humanities Research Council Creative Clusters competition and investment;
  • establishment of a new national Creative Industries Policy and Evidence Centre to produce independent evidence to boost understanding of the creative industries, including how they are working together in clusters and across the wider economy.
 

There are ongoing discussions across a number of other areas:

 

  • linking high-growth potential creative businesses with investment opportunities in businesses with intellectual property;
  • discussing with industry further joint action to strengthen the copyright framework;
  • exploring how the government and industry can work together to shape a creative industries-focused trade strategy to significantly increase exports and to ensure the talent pipeline creative businesses require is in place;
  • consulting with industry to define a three year target for export growth, plus a range of measures to attract, develop, and retain the talent it needs, including an industry-led careers strategy;
  • exploring opportunities to work with the Institute for Apprenticeships to prioritise apprenticeship standards development for the creative industries in areas where they are experiencing skills gaps and shortages.
 

With respect to video games, the White Paper repeated the Government’s commitment to:

  • extend support to the UK Games Fund to 2020;
  • increase the number of available Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) visas for non-EEA migrants; and
  • ensure that the UK must “continue to be an attractive destination for the world’s most talented and innovative people”.
Dr Richard Wilson, TIGA CEO, said:

“A modern industrial strategy should favour competitive markets over detailed central planning, remove obstructions to business growth and include both generic and sectoral approaches to the economy. These principles and the industrial strategy should be linked by an overarching theme: eliminating the productivity gap that exists between the UK and other G7 countries.

“Encouragingly, the Government’s industrial strategy recognizes the importance of improving the UK’s productivity performance. It rightly focuses on ‘the famous five’ - promoting innovation, improving our country’s skills, infrastructure and business environment and developing prosperous communities across the UK.  The Government’s plans to increase R&D investment to 2.4 per cent of GDP by 2027, boost STEM and technical skills and extend support to the UK Games Fund are particularly welcome.

“However, there remains an opportunity to reinforce our successful creative industries, which are growing at twice the rate of the economy as a whole. With respect to the video games industry, the introduction of TIGA’s Games Investment Fund and a further expansion of the UK Games Fund’s resources would improve studios’ access to finance, while the establishment of a British Games Institute could help to drive productivity and growth across the sector.”

 

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