Ed Vaizey backs games industry progress
Five years after first speaking to the conference, Minister for Culture and the Digital Economy Ed Vaizey gave a warmly-received keynote address at Develop:Brighton today.
Hailing these "incredibly exciting times" for the UK games industry, after the introduction of Video Games Tax Relief and the reintroduction of computing into the curriculum, the Minister particularly welcomed Ukie's contribution to this ongoing work.
Pointing to stats from the BFI he welcomed the strong start made by the tax relief scheme, with 67 games already having been approved and due to bring spending of over £180 million into the UK. He also found time to generously praise Ukie's hard work convincing the previous government to bring the scheme into being, having initially rejected it.
On the skills agenda he welcomed Ukie's innovative Digital Schoolhouse project: "it will be vital to keep expanding the talent pipeline – Ukie’s Digital Schoolhouse project, funded by the Mayor of London, is a good example of inspiring children in creative programming from an early age – and training a new generation of teachers."
He also pointed to Ukie's collaboration with Nesta to create a big data map of the games industry, allowing us for the first time to talk confidently about the strong and growing games hubs that exist across the UK.
It was good to hear the Minister's desire to keep doing more to help the industry. He set out his desire to see cultural institutions like the Arts Council and BFI doing even more to recognise and support the contribution that games make to the national culture, to keep improving diversity in our industry, and to do more to advertise the UK to the rest of the world as a great place to make games - again recognising Ukie's hard work to achieve this.
In all, today's speech was a very welcome confirmation that the new government, like the coalition that preceded it, will be a strong supporter of the games industry, not least in the form of Mr Vaizey himself. Ukie will continue to work tirelessly to represent the industry's needs and to work with the Minister and his colleagues to make the UK the best place in the world to make and sell games.
You can read the pre-delivery text of the speech here.