What does a hung Parliament mean for the Games Industry?

Aerial view of the Palace of Westminster

UPDATE: Ukie welcome the formation of a minority government led by the Conservative Party. It is essential that the government now focusses on delivering the right deal in the forthcoming Brexit negotiations and we look forward to working with them to achieve this.

What a night!

There were a few bleary eyes on my commute this morning and a slightly bewildered expression on a lot of folks’ faces. As usual, though, everyone was glued to their phones, but for once it wasn’t Shuffle Cats or 1010! but news feeds dominating people’s attention. Everyone seemed to have taken an interest in politics.

I asked a former colleague in Whitehall for their take on what’s next:

A Source: "This is a great question Tim?"

Me: "Unreal. What can I blog about? Feed me some bon-mots!" 

A Source: "I got nothing, Everyone’s trying to figure out what's next. The most likely situation is that, over the next few days, everything that isn’t critical gets put on hold until this gets worked out. All while the Brexit clock is ticking. It's like The Crystal maze."

So what do we do now? It depends on the flavour of the coalition or the alliances supporting a minority government. The Conservatives will be hoping to form an alliance with the Democratic Unionist Party in Northern Ireland but their leader, Arlene Foster, has already expressed doubts that Mrs May will still be leader. Jeremy Corbyn immediately called for her resignation and will be working behind the scenes to come up with an alternative to a Conservative led coalition should Mrs May fail to reach a deal. But as my former colleague said, the clock is ticking on Brexit and there is a fear that Brussels may seek to delay negotiations (due to start in a few days time) until a “strong and stable” government is formed.

The election results undoubtedly raise many questions surrounding the UK's future leaderships, the form of our next government and the individuals sitting at the negotiation table before our European counterparts. However, regardless of the final outcome of this election we want to remind the sector that we have an opportunity to work together with the new government to ensure that the UK remains the best place in the world to make and sell games.  

We were cheered by a number of the election's outcomes, including the fact that turnout was the highest since 1997 at around 69%.  There are now a record 201 female MPs in Parliament, up 10 from 2015 and there is now the first female Sikh MP– a great reflection of the diversity of the nation. We are also delighted to welcome the return to Parliament of some real champions of the games industry. In particular, Chris Law MP, Co-chair of the Video Games All-Party Parliamentary Group, Justin Tomlinson MP, Luciana Berger MP and Sharon Hodgson MP the Group's Vice Chairs, as well as long term games industry supporters Ed Vaizey MP and Tom Watson MP.    

Last month, we published our manifesto ‘Powering Up: manifesto for unlocking growth in the games industry’ which set out 10 recommendations to the next government in key areas to our industry including talent and skills, international trade and data flows, public funding and regional excellence. These recommendations provide a vision for how the next government can grow the economy through the games and interactive entertainment sectors, as well as ensuring the UK is in the best possible position to navigate the Brexit process.  

We look forward to welcoming the new government, once formed, and to working with all parts of the administration over the coming parliament to ensure that the policies and support needed for the continued success of the UK games industry are prioritised. We just need to find out now who gets the crystal.

Responding to the election results our CEO Dr Jo Twist OBE commented: 

"Ukie will ensure that we are keeping our members and the industry up to date with developments as they unfold, whether this is the formation of a new coalition or a minority government. 

Whatever the eventual outcome, we look forward to working with a new government that is supportive of the UK’s globally successful games sector. We will be lobbying the incoming government to recognise the needs of the games sector as they develop their policies. In particular we will seek to ensure the best Brexit deal for the UK is reached by recognising our continuing need for highly skilled local and international talent, achieving the right conditions for data flows and international trade, as well as a commitment to our generous tax relief which fuels creativity and innovation in our world leading industry." 

Read our full manifesto ‘Powering Up: manifesto for unlocking growth in the games industry’ here

Ukie is here to keep our members and the industry informed. If you have questions about the election or our public affairs work going forward, please speak to our policy team Tim and Marianna.