Following today’s budget announcement from the Chancellor of the Exchequer, it seems UK based games developers won’t be getting the tax credits that gaming trade body UKIE (United Kingdom Interactive Entertainment) has campaigned for, at least not yet anyway.
Despite earlier indications that a possible result could be on the horizon, the proposed “Game Tax Relief” was markedly absent from George Osborne’s budget. Despite this, UKIE CEO Dr Jo Twist appears to be remaining positive.
In a statement released today, Twist said: “The ongoing delay to the UK games tax relief scheme has been very frustrating for UK developers. Whilst there was not any announcement about the European Commission’s decision in this year’s budget, we continue to be confident that our case is strong and that we will receive word from the EC soon. We know that the Treasury and other UK government departments have worked hard to convince Europe of the case for UK Games Tax Relief, and we will continue to do everything we can to help push tax relief over the finishing line and get this vital scheme in place for UK developers as soon as possible.”
While this will come as a blow to the UK’s raft of games development studios who would no doubt have hoped for financial help from the government, Dr Twist’s words show that there is still hope for the campaign yet. Plus, it’s not necessarily all bad news on the budget for devs as there were some other potentially helpful measures announced earlier today:
- The Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme to be made permanent
- Extra £85 million in next two years in grants to employers to support 100,000 new apprenticeships
- £20 million over 2 years to support degree-level apprenticeships
- Confirmation that Corporation Tax will be 21% in April, 20% from April 2015
- £2,000 Employment Allowance announced last year will come into force in April – reduces Employer National Insurance Contributions
- UK Export Finance will be reformed to support intangible exports, be much more proactive in support of UK businesses, and have its direct lending budget double to £3 billion at the lowest permitted interest rates.
- R&D Tax Credit for loss-making SMEs will increase from 11% to 14.5%
- Enterprise Zone discounts on business rates and Enhanced Capital Allowances will be extended by 3 years
- Double the Annual Investment Allowance for businesses to £500,000 until the end of 2015
- Provide £42 million over 5 years to set up the Alan Turing Institute to lead the world in Big Data and algorithm research
Dr Twist seemed fairly positive about these measures, but maintained that the fight for Game Tax Relief was not over yet: “Many of these new announcements are welcome steps which should help further cement the position of the UK as the best place in the world to make and sell games. Helping SMEs to grow more quickly is particularly crucial, and the announcements on SEIS and export support should have a good impact in this regard.
“However, it is Games Tax Relief which will have a real impact in unlocking our sector’s cultural and economic potential, as the government recognised when introducing the scheme. It is vital that we get it in place as soon as possible”