Ed Vaizey breaks down UK games industry tax breaks

Develop 2010: British minister for culture addresses games industry for the first time since government's controversial reversal of incentives.

Who was there: UK member of parliament Ed Vaizey has been one of the most high-profile supporters of the UK video game industry over the last couple of years. Vaizey was elected to government earlier this year, with the Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition replacing the outgoing Labour party. As the minister for the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, he is responsible for listening to requests from the games industry and had promised to "actively consider" tax breaks for UK game makers.

Vaizey reaffirmed his support of the games industry in his speech.

What he talked about: Last month, the government's controversial reversal of the promised video game tax break sent ripples through the UK development community. In his first address to the industry since George Osborne's revised budget was announced, culture minister Ed Vaizey attended Brighton Develop to proclaim his support of the video games market, as well as address the development community's concerns.

As a vocal supporter of the game industry, Vaizey was quick to distance himself from the decisions made by the chancellor. "I can't emphasise enough after the budget that I'm not the chancellor!" he joked. However, he was also supportive of George Osborne's decisions, saying, "while none of [the budget cuts] are specific tax breaks for the industry, I think the budget is very good news for business."

The most controversial comment of the session came at the end, as Vaizey was prompted by a question from Richard Wilson, head of industry body TIGA. He asked, "If we present the case [for industry tax breaks] again, are you on site to argue the case?" Vaizey responded, "To put it bluntly, you haven't made the case because the chancellor didn't accept it," he stated. "You would need to make it to me and George Osborne again." However, he also reiterated, "I'm 100 percent a supporter of this industry."

Takeaway: The next step for Vaizey and the coalition government is a new independent review, headed up by games industry veterans Charles Cecil and Ian Livingston, which will "look carefully at how many people leaving game courses actually get into relevant fields," he said. He also spoke of a new £2 million ($3.05 million) investment in Abertay University to support smaller development studios.

For more on UK games industry tax breaks, watch our interview with TIGA's Richard Wilson.

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Discussion

26 comments
majere613
majere613

I'm on a TIGA-affiliated game design training course at the moment. If it doesn't play out for me, you can be sure I'll let them know :) Still, can't say this decision suprised anyone too much, there's not much money about at the moment that isn't being spent on important things like the Olympics and Wayne Rooney's new kitchen. I'm not bitter. Well maybe I am- but like a grapefruit, bitter in a sort of nice way....

brendanhunt1
brendanhunt1

would be nice if we could have an elected leader at some point

steve4123456789
steve4123456789

Just stick with the old games poeple, new games are crap, (most of them.)

JimmeyBurrows
JimmeyBurrows

@ jonajacket The ones that aren't poor have generally stolen, lol

SicklySunStorm
SicklySunStorm

@cube-gage - sorry to hear about the employment situation where you are... it must be a localised thing though, because believe me, where I am (Leeds area) there are LOADS of jobs.... often though, they're positions many people think they're too "above" to fill (not saying this is you at all, but that's totally how it is round here - too many proud people happy to keep taking the dole instead of pulling up the sleeves and getting on with whatever is available). There are inevitably areas where there may be more or less jobs than others - the key for anyone that needs one is; are you prepared to move to get one, or just stay put as you are?

charliechequer
charliechequer

Its probably a case of 'they'd like to do it' but they can't because the DailyMail will be shrieking their heads off that public services are being raped because of fiscal deficit, yet the games industry (which makes games that encourage rape and gun crime) are protected. Where's the justice? I blame the Immigrants

real_nimrod
real_nimrod

I do so enjoy laughing at people who think they know the answer to our current economic problems and choose to divulge them on gamespot. If it was so simple that it could be summed up by someone who's probably not a leading economist/banker in under 100 words, you really think we'd still be so financially screwed?

Maximus_Fett
Maximus_Fett

Dear oh dear... First the Car industry.... Now the games industry? I'm sorry I can't see how making taxes less can get us out of a recession. Conservatives typically make taxes go down, which means more money in your pocket but public services are crappy. Schools, hospitals, GPs, public transport, intra-national infrastructure all of these will suffer severely, and as Mr. Cameron has just proved it's not really helping the economy. Essentially what i'm saying is what they should raise taxes for people and give tax breaks for companies it's pretty simple really, this would encourage them to hire more people and take more risks (this is what business is about after all).

jonajacket
jonajacket

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JimmeyBurrows
JimmeyBurrows

@ airsoftmanic "its not like the government will suffer from removing the tax break." They will suffer... Because all the dev's will bugger off out the country... Leaving nothing for more students after Uni, leaving less money coming in as tax from the industry and basically helping the country screw it's own leg more than it already is.

cube-gage
cube-gage

They are not trying to get us out of debt. VAT went up, schools will all become private academies, less public spending in general, more unemployed people forced onto private "training schemes" in which the tax payer has to pay 10 fold the amount of what letting people stay on the dole would cost. There really are no jobs. And I mean really there are not ANY jobs. Ive applied for 50 or so this last fortnight, at pizza hut, asda, tesco, kfc etc etc and no reply. And im in a better position than most as I have a good CV, a car and never been in trouble with the law. There will be many more years of war in afghan and iraq (yes we are still in Iraq, contrary to how he media portray it) until eventually it turns into something bigger. The banks will continue to thrive on bonuses, the poor will continue to be blamed for all the nations problems (eg the "chavs") the rich will get richer. Same old stuff, god knows why I voted lib dem, I knew I shouldnt of bothered. And now I never will EVER again.

airsoftmanic
airsoftmanic

while i do think the removal of tax breaks is only bad for the UK gaming industry, i cant say i blame the government for this. they're trying to get us out of masses of debt that brown/banks blundered us into, and they did say that cuts will have to be made. the gaming industry is convenient to take stuff from because they have no say. its not like the government will suffer from removing the tax break. though they do kind of shoot themself in the foot because if you think about it, they remove money from the games industry which means less jobs there, and then they go and spend it on making more games design/programming graduates but they cant find a job in the industry because there are no jobs. vicious circle.

IAMTHEJOKER88
IAMTHEJOKER88

Gaming isn't and shouldn't be the Government's main concern to be honest people.

SunOfAtom
SunOfAtom

@krytorii David Cameron and his puppy, Nick Clegg, are not interested in supporting the troubled gaming market. They are more concerned with legalizing fox hunting and also a new bloodsport they like to call 'Council Scheme Safari'. The coalition know their target demographic - and they don't have accounts on Gamespot, that's for sure.

krytorii
krytorii

@SonOfAtom Have you heard of the digital economy bill? Basically the labour gov got to rush a law they didnt understand with less than half of parliament in session. Same thing. Ministers are not experts in these fields, which is why we need advisers.

krytorii
krytorii

tbh you cant blame them for not giving the gaming industry a tax break. They have more important things to pour money into, like education; they're cutting university places. Again. In anyones budget education, benefits, police, nhs and the like are all more important than a tax break for game devs. No-one else got a tax break either. We need to encourage the market. It can become a major industry here if we allow it. On the other hand, if we hand out money willy-nilly now, thinking about the long term, we'll end up like greece in the short term. Get national debt cut. The interest we pay on that is the single biggest expenditure (depending on how you group departments). Lessen that and we save money year on year.

SunOfAtom
SunOfAtom

The problem with government is that none of its members have an active interest in gaming - they don't understand that if the media goes unsupported we're all going to be left under studios like Activision, one of the few companies who are faring comfortably in this lull. That means we're going to be playing Call of Duty - forever. Grim, isn't it?

loopy_101
loopy_101

A bunch of hipocrites = Coalition Government.

Vishant
Vishant

How can they support tax breaks when the next Manhunt comes along and they have to jump on the bandwagon calling for it being banned? The conservatives who are running most of the policies of the coalition (as the Lib Dems have got their electoral reform and are toeing the line). The conservatives tend to be from the upper-middle classes who do not understand nor use video games and so look to avoid helping them. Also as they are cutting all government department spending (apart from the NHS) by at least 20% each, they can not be seen to be supporting one industry or another.

DeadnBuried
DeadnBuried

@berio2toru You say that, yet it was Brown and the Labour party that planned the tax breaks whilst the coalition denied it.

gbrading
gbrading moderator

Seems to me he's saying, I'll support you 100%, unless the Chancellor says no, in which case, you'll need to start all over again. How kind Mr. Vaizey.

berio2toru
berio2toru

Damn mep69 you beat me :-P If the UK is to be seen as a major player again we absolutely need government support. Sad to say but the old toffs at the top need to listen to the changing face of the worlds cultural industries. That being said me thinks Cameron and Clegg would be in a better position to acknowledge this then say ol' Brown don't you think? lol

mep69
mep69

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