TIGA, the network for games developers and digital publishers and the trade association representing the UK videogames industry has strongly applauded the Government’s decision to launch a new £4 million Prototype Fund to help start-ups in the video games sector. The Government also announced an additional £4 million funding over the next two years to support the Skills Investment Fund: this provides match funding for training for the video games industry and other creative sectors. TIGA has been campaigning for both measures and engaging with policy makers to achieve this.
The new measures to support the video games sector were announced by the Rt Hon George Osborne MP, Chancellor of the Exchequer, in the last Budget of the current Parliament this afternoon.
Dr Richard Wilson, CEO, TIGA, said:
“TIGA applauds the new support promised by the Chancellor in the Budget for the UK video games sector. Following the achievement of Games Tax Relief, TIGA’s top priority has been the achievement of a new Prototype Fund to enable start-up studios to access finance and develop playable prototypes. TIGA also called for the maintenance of the Skills Investment Fund, a measure that enables more studios to invest in skills, training and workforce development.
“TIGA submitted seven key proposals in our Budget Submissions to the Government and we are thrilled that the Chancellor has supported two of them. This is a great day for the UK video games development and digital publishing sector.”
“TIGA will continue to advance our creative and dynamic agenda to strengthen the videogames development and digital publishing sector in the run up to the General Election in 2015 and beyond.”
TIGA presented seven key proposals to policy makers, political parties and the Government in the Autumn Statement 2014 and in the run-up to the 2015 Budget:
- A Prototype Fund should be made available to enable start-up studios to access finance and develop playable prototypes.
- A Creative Content Fund (CCF) should be established in order to encourage new studio formation, stimulate creativity, new content development and IP generation. The CCF could make loans available to games businesses on a pound for pound, matched funding basis. Both the Prototype Fund and the CCF could be financed via the National Lottery or via Innovate UK (formerly known as the Technology Strategy Board).
- The amount of money that a company can raise via SEIS investment should be increased from £150,000 to £200,000 per annum to reflect the rise in development budgets required to make internationally competitive games.
- An Export Tax Relief could be introduced to incentivise more small firms to export, thereby promoting export-led economic growth. An Export Tax Relief is currently prohibited under EU law, but the UK Government could explore the case for negotiating and securing this Relief. Alternatively, the existing R&D Tax Credits could be expanded to enable businesses to claim relief on researching and developing new export markets. A non-exhaustive list of eligible costs could include: analysis of new markets and potential barriers, analysis of tariffs, and company or branch registration costs.
- Regional/National Games Development Incubators should be established at a university or at a consortium of universities in each of the English regions and in each of the nations within the UK to enable more successful start-ups, boost universities and power regional growth.
- A pilot Training Tax Relief (TTR) should be introduced for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). TTR would operate in a similar way to the existing R&D tax credits and would enable SMEs to offset expenditure on training, Continuous Professional Development (CPD) for staff and education outreach activities against corporation tax.
- The Skills Investment Fund should be maintained to enable UK games businesses to enhance skills in the games industry.