UK games industry awaits decision on tax breaks

01/10/13

Kyle Jobson - producer at Flix Interactive

Video games companies in the UK are waiting to hear if they'll get a discount on how much tax they have to pay.

Officials at the European Commission are due to decide whether a government scheme would give firms in Britain an unfair advantage.

Those against tax breaks argue that the video games market is healthy and that subsidies could harm competition.

But UK companies say the country is losing out to others like Canada and France who already offer tax breaks.

Newsbeat spoke to industry figures at Eurogamer Expo in London.

Henrique Olifiers - co-founder Bossa Studios

Henrique Olifiers - co-founder Bossa Studios

The UK is where it all started. The British are the most creative people in the games industry. Other countries have been stealing talent because of tax breaks and incentives - Canada being the biggest one.

It's crucial for us. We have been seeing a talent drain for the past twenty years to countries that are incentivising that industry and we are all sitting by and watching. Half of my staff are from abroad, it is difficult for us to find the talent in the UK.

Kyle Jobson - producer at Flix Interactive

Kyle Jobson - producer at Flix Interactive

We really have to look after the pennies. There's not a lot of support. A few years back when I first graduated, there were going to be tax breaks, so many incentives the government was going to put in to push young creative studios out there.

We do struggle to make ends meet. The people who show us massive support is the industry itself, studios a bit further along who remember what it was like to be us. Delaying taking VAT would help. We need that money to make the game. The production, electricity bills, basic stuff, We are on a shoestring budget.

Fergal Gara - MD Sony Playstation UK & Ireland

Fergal Gara - MD Sony Playstation UK & Ireland

There's amazing talent here in the UK which is tremendously exciting. We need to make sure that the UK remains competitive as a home for games development and the tax break is particularly important.

There's a high risk we'll see continued migration of games development to countries like Canada who do have those tax breaks in place.

Jo Twist - Chief Executive, UKIE

UKIE CEO Jo Twist

We are the most creative nation in the world. We are a real power house but we have slipped a bit globally and that is because other nations are competing with things like tax breaks and they're taking away all our brilliant talent.

The tax breaks decision is incredibly important. We need to create a level financial playing field not only to encourage big companies to base their studios here but also to help grow those smaller companies.

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