Yesterday, Wednesday 25 May, MPs debated the potential merits of a video games enterprise zone in Stoke-on-Trent. The 30-minute debate was led by Jonathan Gullis MP, Member of Parliament for Stoke-on-Trent North. You can read the full debate transcript here.
The Minister for Media, Data, and Digital Infrastructure, Julia Lopez MP, responded to the debate which was also attended by the other Stoke-on-Trent Members of Parliament, Jo Gideon MP and Jack Brereton MP.
Jonathan Gullis MP described the gaming industry as ‘one of the most exciting sectors in the worldwide economy’, quoting research from TIGA including that the game development sector’s annual contribution to UK gross domestic product increased from £2.2 billion to £2.9 billion.
Mr Gullis also referred to TIGA’s research which demonstrated that the number of creative staff in studios surged by almost 25%, and by an annualized rate of 14.7%, from 16,836 to 20,975 full-time and full-time equivalent staff. Additionally, the number of jobs indirectly supported by studios rose from 30,781 to 38,348.
Mr Gullis went on to describe how the video games industry was aiding the Levelling-up agenda, quoting recent research from TIGA which shows that the industry supports economic growth in clusters throughout the UK, with approximately 80% of the workforce based outside London.
In her response, the Minister stated that Video Games Tax Relief has ‘strengthened the UK’s reputation as one of the leading destinations across the world to make video games, and it has really worked’. The Minister also acknowledged that the Government ‘have to ensure that we continue to be internationally competitive’ and that she will continue discussions about tax incentives with the Treasury.
TIGA is backing the ‘Silicon Stoke’ concept with Dr Richard Wilson, TIGA CEO, involved with the prospectus to secure partnerships and investment into the city that will benefit digital innovation and the jobs this will create in the city.