The Budget: Maths, Computer Science and the UK Games Fund

By November 22, 2017Press Releases

TIGA, the network for games developers and digital publishers and the trade association representing the video games industry, welcomed the Government’s plans to incentive the study of maths in schools; increase the supply of computer science teachers; additional funding for the UK Games Fund, R&D and AI; and expand Tech City UK’s reach. TIGA made the comments in response to today’s Budget by The Rt Hon Philip Hammond MP, Chancellor of the Exchequer.

A press release from HM Treasury detailing the key announcements can be found online here.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer announced a range of measures in his Budget, including:

Productivity 

  • Provide a further £1 million to extend the UK Games Fund until 2020, aiding access to finance and business support for early stage video game developers.
  • Invest £21 million over the next 4 years to expand Tech City UK’s reach – to become ‘Tech Nation’. Regional hubs will be located in: Cambridge, Bristol and Bath, Manchester, Newcastle, Leeds and Sheffield, Reading, Birmingham, Edinburgh and Glasgow, Belfast, and Cardiff.
  • Announce further details in the Industrial Strategy White Paper about support for our creative and digital industries which will include developing pioneering immersive technology for creative content, and launching a new AI and machine-learning programmes targeted at the services sector.

 

Education

  • Invest £30 million to test the use of AI and innovative EdTech in online digital skills courses so that learners can benefit from this emerging technology, wherever they are in the country. There will also be new employer-designed courses in construction and digital.
  • Ensure that every secondary school has a fully qualified computer science GCSE teacher, by committing £84 million to upskill 8,000 computer science teachers by the end of this Parliament.
  • The Government will also work with industry to set up a new National Centre for Computing to produce training material and support schools.
  • Give more children the opportunity to be taught maths using world-leading techniques by providing £27 million to expand the successful Teaching for Mastery maths programme into a further 3,000 schools.
  • Reward schools and colleges who support their students to study maths by giving them £600 for every extra pupil who decides to take Maths or Further Maths A levels.
  • Nurture top mathematical talent by delivering its commitment to open maths schools across the country, which includes £18 million to fund an annual £350,000 for every maths school under the specialist maths school model, which includes outreach work.
  • Test innovative approaches to improve GCSE Maths resit outcomes by launching a £8.5 million pilot, alongside £40 million to establish Further Education Centres of Excellence across the country to train maths teachers and spread best practice.
  • Explore how to improve the accessibility and transparency of data on gender disparity in STEM subjects by institution and subject.
  • £20 million for FE Colleges to prepare for T-Levels.

R&D and Business Rates

  • Increase in R&D expenditure by another £2.3 billion.
  • Increase the rate of the R&D expenditure credit from 11% to 12% with effect from 1 January 2018.
  • Consult in 2018 on extending the scope of tax relief currently available to employees and the self-employed for work-related training costs.
  • Reductions in the burden of business rates.

Access to finance

  • The Government will extend the British Business Bank’s Enterprise Finance Guarantee to March 2022 and expanding the programme to support up to £500 million of loans per annum.

Dr Richard Wilson, TIGA CEO, said:

“TIGA strongly supports the Government’s plans to incentivise the study of maths – which is already the most popular A level subject – more computer science teachers and support for FE colleges to prepare for the introduction of T-Levels. The games industry, the creative sectors and the wider UK economy need a highly skilled, trained and educated workforce to compete successfully.

“The provision of a further £1 million to extend the UK Games Fund until 2020 is fantastic news and will help more start-ups and small studios access finance. The expansion of Tech City UK’s reach and further investment in R&D and AI is also good news for the video games industry and other high technology sectors.

“In addition to enhancing skills, training and education and increasing support for the UK Games Fund, TIGA strongly believes that the Government should reinforce our successful industries, including the video games sector. Access to capital is one of the key factors holding back our sector. We hope that the Government’s forthcoming Industrial White Paper will strengthen our sector by introducing TIGA’s proposed Games Investment Fund, which would provide grants and pound for pound match funding for developers; and support the establishment of a British Games Institute to drive our sector forward.”

Jason Kingsley OBE, TIGA Chairman and CEO and Creative Director at Rebellion, said:

“TIGA welcomes the steps announced in today’s Budget to further improve skills, training and education. Access to a skilled workforce is critical for our industry and a highly educated and trained population is vital for the wellbeing and future of the UK. We also welcome the additional support for the UK Games Fund.

“TIGA now looks forward to the publication of the Government’s Industrial White Paper which we hope will set out plans for a Games Investment Fund and a British Games Institute to enable our sector to grow still further.”

 

About TIGA

TIGA is a not for profit network for games developers and digital publishers and the trade association representing the video games industry.. Since 2010, TIGA has won 24 business awards and commendations, an achievement which demonstrates our drive to meet and to exceed best practice. TIGA focuses on three sets of activities:

 

  • political representation;
  • profile raising; and
  • business services.

This means that TIGA members’ voices are heard in the corridors of power and positively represented in the international, national, regional and trade media. TIGA’s activities also serve to enhance the competitiveness of our members by providing benefits that make a material difference to their businesses, including a reduction in costs and improved commercial opportunities.

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