The UK’s emergency budget, designed to balance the region’s books within five years, does not contain any measures for providing tax relief or incentives for local game developers.
Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne instead opted to provide more wide spread tax incentives that may help a wider selection of businesses, instead of the “poorly targeted” aid for interactive creators.
Industry groups TIGA and The Entertainment and Leisure Software Publishers Association (ELSPA), who had both long championed Games Tax Relief, were not happy with the news.
Saying he was “extremely disappointed,” ELSPA Director General Michael Rawlinson, stated, “Our industry will be rightly puzzled as to how tax breaks can be lauded before an election, only to be seen as ‘poorly targeted’ and scrapped just 6 weeks later.”
In light of tax incentives, Rawlinson called on the coalition government to back other policies that ELSPA has recommended, including “addressing the skills gap and better access to R&D initiatives.”
TIGA said that it would continue to push for Games Tax Relief, or “similar fiscal measures.” CEO Richard Wilson said that the coalition government “has broken pre-election pledges.”
Wilson added,” Unless the Coalition Government introduces Games Tax Relief or a similar fiscal measure then the UK will forfeit millions of pounds in inward investment, jobs will be lost and we will cease to be a leading developer of video games.”
Wilson “welcomed” a reduction in corporate taxes, but said that such a measure “does not address the specific needs of the video games sector.”
Osborne is pictured above with the red budget box. Custom dictates that the Chancellor of the Exchequer hold the briefcase aloft on Budget day for photo calls. The box pictured was first used in 1860, but Osborne will be the last to pose with the briefcase as it is being retired into the National Archives because it is getting too fragile for use.
Image from The Guardian