Report: ESLPA Expressed Concern During Tax Break Talk with UK Government

December 8, 2010 -

A four-page expose put together by GameIndustry.biz reveals that ELSPA -- the trade group representing the interactive entertainment industry in the UK -- may have quietly been working against tax breaks. While it sounds like a nefarious, under-handed scenario - and one that may have inadvertently sent a mixed signal to the government at the time - the group had its reasons.

While the industry continually lobbied the government last year to provide tax breaks and other business support, ELSPA aired a number of concerns it had with the government over "cultural tax breaks." ELSPA apparently warned the government against such tax breaks, instead urging them to offer the industry 'software' tax breaks.

The difference between the two is vast:

"Currently videogames are classed as 'software' under World Trade Organisation rules, and as such enjoy the benefit of free trade status," wrote ELSPA in its DCMS submission. "Cultural products on the other hand, are afforded a protected status, that allows countries to apply trading restrictions to protect their own locally cultural products and therefore to restrict free trade.

"Any change to the classification of videogames could seriously affect the commercial development of the industry and its long-term future. Currently, videogames are not affected by the imposition of retail levies, output quotas and the like which are applied to cultural industries (such as the French and Spanish film industries) in order to fund the tax relief schemes.

"Our concern is that the provision of a tax relief scheme on cultural grounds could label the industry's products, in the EC's view, once and for all as cultural, and that this could be an irreversible first step towards the imposition of retail levies or further protectionist regulation aimed at sourcing funding to support the tax relief scheme.

"Any introduction of retail levies within the videogame industry would, from the publishers' point of view, erode any previous financial benefit derived from tax relief at the development stage, mainly because retail levies would apply across all products whereas only a percentage of videogames in development would be successful in obtaining tax relief."

ELSPA, now known as UKIE, claimed that it was not engaging in "anti-tax talk" at the time:

"We have no idea where that has come from, it's totally left of field and has certainly not been on the agenda of any of the many political briefings we've been involved in," said ELSPA director general Michael Rawlinson at the time. "That's not to say it's not true, but we've been discussing tax relief for some time, and lobbying solidly. It's something we haven't come across."

Inevitably, the games industry did manage to secure film-style tax breaks in the 2010 budget from outgoing government early in 2010, but as the new government began making deep budget cuts, the tax break was one of the first items on the chopping block.

None of ELSPA's concerns on cultural tax breaks had been made public until the GI.biz report.

On a related note, GI.biz also offers an extensive timeline of events dated January 2008 - November of this year related to ELSPA's public statements on tax breaks for the UK games industry.

Thanks Vincent Scheurer of London-based law firm Sarassin LLP - who had a hand in making the report possible in the first place because of its Freedom of Information Act request on lobbying efforts.


Comments

Re: Report: ESLPA Expressed Concern During Tax Break Talk ...

And we also know that a major unnamed publisher lobbied the government not to introduce tax breaks as it would have had an affect on the Canadian games industry.

 
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MattsworknameBIG: how does that make sense?08/05/2015 - 12:18am
Big PermLenny Kravitz penis has been trending all day08/04/2015 - 11:45pm
MattsworknameSo far, Win 8 gave me nothing but problems08/04/2015 - 11:18pm
MattsworknameI;ll see what I can come up with tomarow08/04/2015 - 11:16pm
ZippyDSMleethose is the issue.08/04/2015 - 10:47pm
ZippyDSMleeOdd, even with admin? I have UAC turned off so I do not have to fuss with it too much, also in order to run FO3/NV you need DX,VC++ 010, mmm might try and download VC++ distro pack both 32 and 64bit from 8 to 2012 or so and isntall them see if one of thos08/04/2015 - 10:46pm
MattsworknameTried that 2 zippy, it still wouldn't work08/04/2015 - 10:43pm
ZippyDSMleeI have had to run NV in compatibility mode before. I have both FO3 and NV running fine with a bunch of mods on win8.108/04/2015 - 10:24pm
MattsworknameI did the direct x 9 fix, issue remains08/04/2015 - 10:13pm
MattsworknameI've had issues with it since the start really, as soon as I tried to run it on Win 8.1, vegas woudl crash as soon as i launched it, even when using the base game08/04/2015 - 10:12pm
MattsworknameManta: I run into issues the moment I try to use any mods. and some times even no mods08/04/2015 - 10:09pm
MattsworknameChris ray gun on the gawker media scandel from a few weeks back https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=apGv0KTV9IM08/04/2015 - 10:08pm
black mantaFunny, Matt. I've been able to run it from Steam no problem.08/04/2015 - 10:02pm
Big PermDo you need Directx 9.0c still? Should be a manual download for win 7/808/04/2015 - 9:55pm
MattsworknameBlack manta; I've been trying to get vegas and 3 to work on windows 8 for months and no method I tries fixed it manta08/04/2015 - 9:53pm
Big PermOh wow, yeah cleared my entire history and now suggestions are subs instead08/04/2015 - 9:15pm
Big PermI think you can mecha. Unless it's just removing it from your UI and still tracking it behind the scenes08/04/2015 - 9:11pm
MechaTama31It would be nice if Youtube just let you delete a video from your history, like Netflix does.08/04/2015 - 9:09pm
black mantaF3 and NV have long been since fixed. They run great on Windows 8 and 8.1. And there's also the Unofficial Patch for F3 and the Mission Mojave patch for NV in case they don't.08/04/2015 - 9:05pm
MattsworknameYeah Big, but for those who had the game for long times, it is to late for that08/04/2015 - 8:43pm
 

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