Video game trade association TIGA has used Labour’s announcement of the creation of a Creative Industries Network to renew calls for the Government to introduce tax relief for the industry.
Yesterday, shadow culture secretary Ivan Lewis announced that Labour was to launch a creative network which would aim to link arts organisations with businesses.
Patrick McKenna, former chief executive of the Really Useful Group, will compile a report on what needs to change within the creative sector in order to grow and develop it.
Andrew McGuiness, chairman of the Advertising Association, will chair the network.
“Our challenge is to match our cutting edge creative ideas with an equally creative global business strategy which ensures we can benefit from the new jobs and growth of the future. The Conservative-led government has so far failed to provide the strategic leadership which is urgently required, and in education and the arts, they are implementing policies which are damaging the foundations of our creative success,” said Lewis.
The network will also aim to broaden access to creative opportunities for young people from low and middle income homes, with members being asked to sign a pledge to offer internships and jobs based on talent rather than social background.
Following the announcement, Dr Richard Wilson, CEO of TIGA, said:
“The UK economy has experienced anaemic growth over the last year. If we are to rebalance the economy away from an over dependence upon financial services and to power economic growth then we must support the industries of the future where the UK has a competitive advantage.
“The creative industries account for more than 7 per cent of UK GDP compared to a European average of 2 per cent. The UK has advantages in creative industries including film, fashion, music and video games. The UK video games development sector is still the largest in Europe and the global market for video games is growing. However, while other governments in countries including Canada and the USA support their video games industries with sector specific tax breaks, the UK does not. As a result, employment in the UK games development sector shrunk by 9 per cent between 2008 and 2010.
“Just as the UK film industry has prospered as a result of the Film Tax Credit, so investment and employment in the UK video games industry would increase with the introduction of Games Tax Relief. The Labour Party, the SNP, the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats all publicly supported Games Tax Relief before the last general election. It made economic sense then; it continues to make economic sense now," he continued.
"TIGA will continue to refine the case for Games Tax Relief and other measures to enhance access to finance for games businesses, for example, the establishment of TIGA’s Creative Content Fund. We look forward to feeding our research into the Labour Party’s Creative Industries Policy Review,” added Wilson.