An eight-point wishlist has been handed to the chancellor ahead of his Autumn Statement today by the video games sector -- often regarded as the darling of the creative industries.
Top of the list is a new games investment fund, whereby grants or loans would be made available to games businesses on a matched funding basis, up to a ceiling of £200,000.
To potentially be funded via the National Lottery or via Grant-in-Aid money, the fund is the brainchild of TIGA, the trade body for the video games industry, which submitted the list.
The concept of the fund is endorsed by the Conservative’s Chris White MP, who said access to finance is typically a concern for small firms in the games development sector.
Dr Richard Wilson, chief executive of TIGA, went further. “Access to finance is the biggest challenge for many games studios in the UK,” he said.
“[Our] proposal for a games investment fund would enhance developers’ access to finance, encourage original IP generation and strengthen the UK video games industry.”
TIGA’s seven other calls to the chancellor are for:
- The government to retain video games industry tax relief and consider increasing the relief’s rate.
- The government to consider increasing the rates of R&D tax relief.
- The government to maintain the UK Games Fund which provides valuable prototype funding for small games businesses.
- The government to increase the amount of money that a company can raise via SEIS investment, from £150,000 to £200,000 a year
- The government to add specialist industry roles to the Shortage Occupation List including (but not limited to) Game Analyst, Senior Game Artist, Senior Game Designer, Senior Producer, and Engine Programmer. This will enable games businesses to address skill shortages in highly specialised roles.
- The government to extend the Skills Investment Fund to promote skills development in the video games industry.
- The government to consider allowing the proceeds of the Training Levy to be available to fund a variety of good quality courses as well as apprenticeships.