Today was the Autumn Statement in the UK, which is a report that the HM Treasury makes to Parliament on economic forecasts. In his statement Chancellor George Osborne, he who possesses that slightly sinister smile, promised that corporation tax reliefs for the video game industry will be “among the most generous in the world”.
This means that the government will offer “a payable tax credit for all three reliefs worth 25 per cent of qualifying expenditure” and will come into effect from 13 April. It gives companies the chance to “choose between an additional deduction at a rate of 100 per cent of enhanceable expenditure or a payable tax credit at a rate of 25 per cent of qualifying losses surrended.”
If all that makes your head hurt, basically it’s a good thing and it’s something that the UK video game industry has been campaigning for a long time.
TIGA, the trade association that represents the UK’s game industry, responded to the announcement in a quote to GamesIndustry.biz;
“Tax breaks for games production will ensure that the UK remains a world leader in the high technology video games development industry. 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,” said TIGA’s Dr Richard Wilson, who also hoped the measure would help make high skill, export focused industries a bigger player in the UK economy.
Ian Livingstone, vice chairman of UKIE (The Association For UK Interactive Entertainment) also weighed in, saying that this is “a welcome sign of the games industry being seen as having the potential to be a leading growth industry to help drive the digital economy of the UK”.
It all sounds brilliant, and I’m glad that Osborne is finally acknowledging this oversight. Still, I can’t help but think about the following hilarious video every time his name is mentioned.