Autumn Statement 2016: Ukie's round up

The Chancellor delivered his Autumn Statement today, one of the occasions each year where the government makes major spending announcements. 

Ukie wrote to the Chancellor earlier this month, setting out seven recommendations, centring around the games sector's access to public funding, skills and talent development, and trade and investment. 

The measures that Ukie have asked Philip Hammond to include in the Autumn Statement are: 

Public Funding

  • Create business certainty with a pledge to continue the Video Games Tax Relief scheme
  • Further support for the successful UK Games Fund to support innovation by small games companies
  • The games industry should be given access to the same industrial and cultural funds – including National Lottery money – that other creative sectors receive

Skills and Talent Development

  • Develop a long-term, funded, vision for games talent that includes investment in computing and ‘STEAM’ education, e.g. Ukie's hugely successful Digital Schoolhouse programme and quality higher-level apprenticeships
  • Extension of the crucial Skills Investment Fund to support the up-skilling of the games workforce

Trade and Investment

  • Supporting a worldwide plan of international trade and investment activity for the games industry
  • Encouraging LEPs and local authorities to integrate games and the wider digital creative sector into their plans, working with industry to deliver targeted support required in existing clusters

This year's Autumn Statement centred on the Chancellor's commitment to deliver on the government's pledge to "support ordinary working class families" and the promise Theresa May made to the nation this summer to focus on those who are "just about managing". 

Much of the good news for games businesses was published in advance of Hammond's announcement to Parliament today, which marked the first time since the Referendum that the government has had to make a formal assessement of the long term impact of exiting the European Union.

Earlier this week, at the annual CBI conference, Prime Minister Theresa May announced a committment of £2bn a year investment into R&D by 2020, the setting up an Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund - overseen by UK Research and Innovation - to help the UK capitalise on its stengths in cutting-edge research like artificial intelligence, and a review into the tax regime to ensure the UK is a home for innovators and tech investors. We warmly welcome the Prime Minister placing technology and innovation at the heart of the new Industrial Strategy and focusing on transformational technologies where the UK can excel and lead the world in, and will be seeking clarity on precise ways that the games industry can access this funding.  

Yesterday, it was announced that the government would be pledging over £1 billion of funding for fibre broadband and 5G mobile technology, providing the digital infrastructure to drive the vision, set out by Theresay May on Monday, of a high-tech innovative Britain. Today, Phillip Hammond emphasised his ambition for the UK to be a world leader in 5G and to ensure that millions of homes and businesses across the nation have access to full-fibre broadband. Ukie has repeatedly urged government to ensure that high-speed broadband needs are met in games clusters across the UK, and we are pleased with the Chancellor's announcement today. 

Finally, the Chancellor announced today that £400 million will be injected into capital funds through the British Business Bank, unlocking £1 billion of new finance for tech scale-ups in a bid to address the "longstanding problem of our fastest growing technology firms being snapped up by bigger companies' start-ups being napped up by larger competitiors." Ukie have inquired into how games businesses can benefit from this fund.

You can read the Autumn Statement document in full online.

For more information about Ukie's policy work, please email Marianna