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Games developers and digital businesses issue joint tax relief call for the creative sector

Two digital trade bodies have issued a joint call for the government to introduce a tax relief scheme for small to medium sized businesses in the creative sector.

TIGA, the representative body for the games industry, has partnered with digital trade body BIMA to call for the launch of a pilot SME Training Tax Relief initiative to promote skills, training and productivity in the £71.4bn a year industry, modelled on existing R&D tax credits.

Dr Richard Wilson, TIGA chief executive, said: “This measure would enable developers and other businesses to finance management training, strategic skill development and promote investment in continuous professional development.

“It would also lead to stronger business-educational links. In the case of the games industry, more developers would have the incentive and resources to provide guest lecturers to universities, contribute to course development, participate in school, college and university career days and make work placements available.”

Natalie Gross, chair of education & public policy at BIMA, said: “The digital industry is a major growth sector for the UK economy, in particular SMEs. At the same time, there is not enough trained and skilled talent to enable these businesses to thrive and the UK economy to grow at the rates it could.

"We believe putting incentives for training into the hands of employers is the most expedient and potent way to move the UK digital economy forward, and tax relief will be a step forward in supporting the engine room of the sector, SMEs, to do so."

It is hoped the scheme would encourage SMEs to provide more training and education opportunities for staff by enabling them to offset costs against their corporation tax.