On 7 August 2020, TIGA, the trade association representing the video games industry, responded to the Lords Economic Affairs Committee’s inquiry into ‘Employment and COVID-19’.
The inquiry is designed to assess the impact of coronavirus on the labour market, and to consider what urgent measures should be implemented to protect employment in the UK.
In its response, TIGA outlined 4 measures for the Government’s consideration, that would bolster the video games industry in the UK and maintain employment in the sector:
- Supporting businesses to start, grow and employ: 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; 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.
Dr Richard Wilson OBE, CEO of TIGA, said:
“As of November 2018, the UK video games development sector directly employed 14,350 people. Over 26,000 jobs were indirectly supported by UK video games studios.
“Enhancing the UK video games sector through implementing the measures recommended by TIGA will help to make an important contribution to the UK’s economic recovery and increase high skilled employment in the sector.”