UK Government pegs Games Tax Relief at 25%

UK Government pegs Games Tax Relief at 25%
First unveiled by UK Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne as part of his 2012 budget back in March, today saw the Government peg the forthcoming Games Tax Relief at a level of 25 percent.

Osborne's statement, now published in full, says the figure was settled upon after a round of consultation, with the relief standing as "among the most generous in the world".

The statement goes on to confirm that, along with tax breaks for animation and television production, the Government will offer a "payable tax credit for all three reliefs worth 25 per cent of qualifying expenditure."

Powerful player

Reaction to the 25 percent figure has been swift, with trade association TIGA claiming it will "provide a powerful boost to the creative industries."

"Tax breaks for games production will ensure that the UK remains a world leader in the high technology video games development industry," said TIGA CEO Dr. Richard Wilson.

"A single 25 per cent level of relief will be simple to administer and economically impactful. Yet we will have to monitor the actions of our competitors: the province of Quebec in Canada already boasts a 37.5 per cent level of tax relief.

"Tax breaks for the creative industries will boost production in games development, animation and high end TV production. They will contribute to a re-balancing of the UK economy away from an over-reliance on public sector employment and financial services towards highly skilled, export focused industries."

Skills investment

The statement also makes provisions for the Government to match industry contributions to the Skills Investment Fund – which invests in training procedures and assessment for the benefit of the TV, film and games industries – of up to £6 million during the course of the next two years.

"The provision of match funding for training and development in the creative industries could enhance productivity," concluded Wilson.

"It could also help to promote more sustainable companies, particularly if managers from small and medium-sized enterprises can draw on the funds to develop the vital business and strategic skills necessary for achieving sustained growth."

For its part, trade association UKIE also welcomed the news, though claimed there needs to be "proper scrutiny of the full draft legislation of how the new tax relief scheme will work" when it's made public.

'Positive step'

"This first detail of the tax relief seems a positive step for our members and the wider industry," added UKIE CEO Jo Twist.

"Whilst we called for a 30 percent rate of relief for the scheme, UKIE was nonetheless pleased to see the rate set at 25 percent, giving the games sector parity with other UK creative industries.

"We're also delighted that the Chancellor has recognised the need to ensure the long term future of the UK games industry by introducing a skills fund that the games sector can access.

"We'll be working with Government and Creative Skillset to make sure that this extra element adds real value to UK games businesses."

Also announced within Osborne's statement was the news that investment in UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) is to be increased by 25 percent, while corporation tax is to be further reduced by 21 percent by 2014.

[source: HM Treasury (PDF)]

With a fine eye for detail, Keith Andrew is fuelled by strong coffee, Kylie Minogue and the shapely curve of a san serif font.


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