The UK games industry’s trade bodies have both responded Chancellor George Osborne’s Autumn Statement to members of Parliament, each suggesting further action that could benefit the games industry.
Both UKIE and TIGA commended the Chancellor’s plans to improve the finances available to small and medium businesses – including boosted bank lending and £400m from the Treasury to extend government-backed venture capital funds – as well as the increase to the R&D tax credits.
However, TIGA believes there are further measures the Government could explore that will help both games start-ups and the UK industry in general.
“The UK needs to promote a more balanced economic recovery which is less dependent on financial services, consumer expenditure and an expansion of private borrowing to buy houses, and more reliant on investment and exports," said TIGA CEO Richard Wilson.
“This is why TIGA has proposed an Export Tax Relief to boost exports, incentives to encourage investment in training, university incubators to strengthen regional growth, improvements to the SEIS as well as the introduction of a Prototype Fund and Creative Content Fund to enable more small development studios to expand, flourish and prosper."
TIGA also proposed a Prototype Fund that would enable start-up studios to access enough funds to create playable prototypes for their games.
Meanwhile, UKIE noted one major absence from Osborne’s statement regarding a hugely beneficial financing initiative that has been running for the last two years.
"“We’re disappointed not to see any commitment in the Chancellor’s statement to continue investment in skills for the games industry via Creative Skillset’s Skills Investment Fund, which comes to the end of its two year funding in April," said UKIE CEO Jo Twist.
"Although abolishing employers’ National Insurance on young apprentices is a positive move, we believe that targeted support is still needed for the games industry to ensure that skills supply meets the increased demand that Video Games Tax Relief is now beginning to create."
Twist also observed that the money set aside for small and medium businesses must also be backed up with opportunities for them to connect with other firms abroad.
“We are pleased to see an exports package of £45m to help SMEs in particular," she said. "We called in our Manifesto in August for increased support to help games companies do more business overseas, and most urgently for grants to help them exhibit and attend international trade shows to be enhanced, not cut.
"The Autumn Statement includes a proposal to ‘double to 60,000 the attendance at international exhibitions by SMEs [UKTI] supports’; it is absolutely vital that games businesses can access this new support to access key emerging markets, and we will be working with Government and our partners at UKTI to make sure this is the case."