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Trade body TIGA calls for more government help to support the UK games industry during the COVID-19 crisis

The Independent Game Developers Association (TIGA) – a trade association representing the UK video games industry – wants your feedback on the economic measures put in place by the UK’s Chancellor of the Exchequer in response to the coronavirus pandemic. 

“TIGA exists to support games businesses, particularly at this important time,” the organisation said. “Therefore, we want to hear your views on how COVID-19 could impact your organisation and what help you need from government. Your input will be vital in informing government measures for our industry.”

To have your say, fill out the survey here, ideally by Thursday March 26th, 2020 if possible. All responses will be anonymised. 

TIGA says it welcomes the initial steps that the Government has taken to support businesses, and says the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and deferral of VAT for the next quarter are “helpful initiatives”, and the VAT deferral “will also provide businesses more time and runway to stay in operation”.

However, TIGA believes more should be done to support the UK video games industry at this time and has set out 10 proposals to enable to cope with coronavirus, including support to keep the 17.5 per cent of the workforce that are on contractor or self-employed contracts, relieve the cost of rent for businesses, increase Video Games Tax Relief (VGTR) and R&D Tax Relief, and encourage venture capitalists to keep investing.

The organisation also calls for the government to “underpin employment and deploy public spending to minimise the depth of the shock” of the crisis.

“We welcome the steps taken by the Government to support British businesses in this unprecedented emergency but we would encourage them to go further by providing a safety net for the self-employed,” said Dr Richard Wilson OBE, TIGA CEO. “Approximately one sixth of the UK workforce is self-employed, freelance or working on zero hour contracts. 17.5 per cent of the UK games development workforce are contractors.

“TIGA has recommended 10 points for the Government to consider in order to enable our high skilled, high technology and export focused industry to survive, revive and thrive. The Government should provide further support to self-employed workers and additional relief for businesses. The greater the levels of support now, the quicker our industry will be able to get back on its feet and create jobs, content and businesses once the crisis is over.”

TIGA also recently revealed a new report which collates the experiences of several games companies during company acquisitions and its 5 Principles for Safeguarding Players. The organiser says it devised the principles for “games businesses to follow when operating games in the UK, in order to safeguard players from potential harms” and says they have been designed “to be proportionate, reflecting the fact that a large multimillion pound games business operating a widely used online game will be able to do much more than a small business operating a niche game”.

TIGA’s 5 Principles for Safeguarding Players are themed around protecting children, treating consumers fairly, safeguarding online communities, respecting personal data, and spending and time management.

About Vikki Blake

It took 15 years of civil service monotony for Vikki to crack and switch to writing about games. She has since become an experienced reporter and critic working with a number of specialist and mainstream outlets in both the UK and beyond, including Eurogamer, GamesRadar+, IGN, MTV, and Variety.

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