Ukie welcomes support for games in the Budget

George Osborne redbox

Ukie welcomes support for games in the Budget

Today’s Budget saw George Osborne announce the revival of the Prototype Fund, with £4m provided over the next four years, as well as £4m for the Skills Investment Fund.

We are now going through the finer detail of how the Prototype Fund in particular might work (such as which body will administer it) and more news on that soon. The full Budget is here

This is what I had to say about the announcements... 

The measures announced today for the games sector will help make the UK the best place in the world to make and sell games.

 

It’s fantastic to see the Chancellor bring back the Prototype Fund, as Ukie called for in our letters to the Chancellor before the Autumn Statement as well as this year’s Budget.  It made a real difference in helping over 70 companies to get their first game made when it ran from 2010 to 2014.

 

This will have a real impact in maximising the effectiveness of Video Games Tax Relief, by giving more people with great ideas for games the chance to get established as a company, start building their portfolio, and make the best possible offer to potential investors. This will have a significant multiplier effect, which is why we have been calling so strongly for it.

 

We are also delighted to see this government keep up the support for skills development in the games industry that this government wisely put in place. We called for the extension of the Skills Investment Fund to support the increasing demand for skills as a result of more development in the UK, in our Manifesto and in our letters to the Chancellor.

 

Ukie has been working hard to make sure that the industry makes the most of this Fund, and now the money is set to continue we will keep up that work. There is much more that can still be done to fully activate the tax relief, including supporting people to establish businesses, improving access to finance, and helping companies to take advantage of international markets and partnerships.  We will continue to work to prove the industry’s case to this government and all the parties that might form the next.

We wrote to the Chancellor last month setting out five actions for the Budget, including these two measures:

  1. Extension of the crucial Skills Investment Fund to support the up-skilling of the games workforce for a sustainable future
  2. Support for affordable work spaces in priority games clusters across the country
  3. A new version of the successful Prototype Fund to support innovation by small games companies;
  4. Expansion of the Enterprise Investment Schemes; and
  5. Support for a worldwide plan of trade and investment activity for the games industry

Changes to the Enterprise Investment Scheme were also announced, which we are now investigating.

There was also news on international trade and emergind markets. The Chancellor said that the government is committed to improving economic ties with major emerging markets. The Chancellor announced a near doubling of funding for UK Trade and Investment (UKTI) activities in China. We will be finding out how much this will also impact sectors such as games.

The Budget also announced funding for an ambitious series of trade missions focused on regional strengths, and to ensure that the UK makes the most of the International Festival for Business in Liverpool. This is something we fully back and indeed we worked with the Festival for Business to deliver the first Liverpool games expo as part of it in 2014. 

With the general election coming up in May, we will continue to work to convince all the political parties of the value of all these ideas, and to ensure that the next government continues to strongly support our industry.

Further analysis will follow of the wider impact of the Budget announcements.

Update:

(From our friends at Coadec)

  • £11m funding for incubators in #TechNorth: The Budget announced an £11m investment in new tech incubators in Sheffield, Leeds and Manchester.
  • The requirement for companies to spend 70% of funds raised under SEIS before being able to raise under EIS is being scrapped. There were also some minor changes to SEIS, EIS and VCTs, including a cap on total tax advantaged investment at £15m and an increase in the employee limit to 499.