The UK's two leading game developer trade bodies, The Independent Games Developers Association (TIGA) and the Entertainment and Leisure Software Publishers Association (ELSPA) are joining forces in the push for industry tax breaks in the region, "immediately" forming a steering committee to address the issue.
TIGA will head the committee, and both its members and ELSPA's will team up with additional advisors they'll invite from the fields of law, tax and public affairs. According to the bodies' joint statement, the aim is to find out why the UK government withdrew planned tax breaks for game developers from its budget, and to re-evaluate TIGA's original lobbying efforts to see where its presentation in favor might be strengthened.
Although both the UK's Labour and Conservative parties had promised a tax relief measure for the game industry if elected, the new budget scrapped the breaks in favor of an overall lower corporate tax. The region's developers are now facing what they perceive as a talent loss, alongside concerns about competing a the global marketplace that sees other countries, particularly Canada, employing tax breaks to attract and incentivize local industry.
Leading developers in the region have spoken out in the wake of the budget revelation. Recently industry veteran and Frontier co-founder David Braben, said the UK is assuredly losing its edge as a result of ongoing failure to implement relief measures, and expressed fears that talent loss would increase if the issue is not addressed. He also suggested that efforts to lobby for tax measures might have failed because of the fashion in which they were presented to a government concerned about wider economic stress.
Today, TIGA CEO Richard Wilson stressed the value of the industry to the region: "The UK video games industry is an industry of the future," he said in a statement announcing the new joint initiative. "It is an export oriented, high-tech, high skills, revenue generating industry. The games industry and policymakers know that the UK does not operate on a level playing field and we are seeing jobs and investment move abroad to countries that offer specific games tax breaks. TIGA is committed to getting Games Tax Relief introduced in the UK."