On 16 July 2020, TIGA, the trade association representing the video games industry, responded to the Business, Energy and Industrial Committee’s Post-Pandemic Economic Growth Super-Inquiry.
The inquiry is designed to look at the options available to Government to secure Britain’s economic recovery from the impact of coronavirus; covering investment, industrial strategy, jobs, skills, exports and sustainable growth.
In its response, TIGA has outlined 4 measures to support the economic growth of the video games industry and the UK economy as a whole in the aftermath of the coronavirus crisis:
- Supporting businesses to start and grow: TIGA recommended resolving access to finance issues through maintaining and enhancing Video Games Tax Relief (VGTR); introducing a Video Games Investment Fund (VGIF) and retaining and enhancing the UK Games Fund.
- Developing skills: TIGA recommended transforming the existing apprenticeship levy into a more general training levy to allow employers to choose the right training programme to benefit their employees; supporting the higher education sector through coronavirus by implementing TIGA’s 6 recommendations for the higher education industry; ensuring the UK’s new migration system allows games businesses to recruit skilled workers from overseas; and promoting training amongst workers in the creative industries through potentially resurrecting the Skills Investment Fund (SIF).
- Infrastructure: TIGA recommended making improvements to the transport, communications and digital infrastructure in the UK, including continuing at pace with the Government target of rolling out gigabit capable broadband by 2025.
- Science, research and innovation: TIGA welcomed the Government’s publication of the Research and Development Roadmap, and the commitment in the 2017 Industrial White Paper to reach 2.4 per cent of GDP investment in R&D by 2027 and 3 per cent of GDP in the longer term. TIGA suggested that the Government could encourage the take-up of R&D tax credits and ensure that they are processed speedily and on time.
CEO of TIGA, Dr Richard Wilson OBE, said:
“The coronavirus pandemic has brought with it huge challenges, yet it has also highlighted the importance of digital services to the economy.
“The video games industry provides high skilled employment, supports economic growth in clusters throughout the UK, is export focused and is relatively resilient to Coronavirus engendered lockdowns. The video games industry has also been important in allowing people to socialise, acting as a form of escapism throughout the lockdown period, and in promoting key health messages to gamers. The importance of the video games industry and the technology industry as a whole has been highlighted in technicolour by the coronavirus pandemic. Enhancing the UK video games sector will help to make an important contribution to the UK’s economic recovery.”