11 July 2016 - London, United Kingdom – Week of Westminster activity for trade body to reassure industry that the UK is the best place to make and sell games, and to position UK games sector at forefront of creative and technology industries post-Brexit talks
Games trade body Ukie held their annual Westminster Reception on Wednesday 6 July, during which CEO Dr Jo Twist OBE reminded the sector that the UK is ‘very much open for business’.
Attended by over 250 members of the games industry and more than 20 parliamentarians, the event was held in the middle of a week that has been dominated in Westminster by the Creative Industries. Ukie have increased their activity with the Government following the Referendum to ensure that the needs of the games sector and wider Creative Industries are met within the Brexit negotiations.
During her speech, Dr Twist called for a commitment from parliamentarians to ensure that games, as a cornerstone of the creative industries and key generator of jobs and opportunity, are at the top table in ongoing negotiations, especially around assurances for tax relief schemes, unimpeded access to a market of more 500m people and talent investment.
Dr Twist also referenced the Create Together strategy, launched on Monday by the Creative Industries Council, where the strengths of the UK games industry are highlighted including the sector’s innovation, geography, and exports. The report, which is available online here, was developed by the creative industries to present a shared vision to support the growth of the sector overthe next five years.
Also speaking at Ukie’s Westminster Reception, Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport John Whittingdale MP, said, "The games sector, and the wider Creative Industries that it is a part of, are one of the UK’s greatest success stories.
That success is built upon the extraordinary talent which exists in this country, an amazing cultural heritage, the English language and a tax system designed to support and encourage growth in the creative sector.
None of this is changed by the UK’s decision to leave the EU and I am confident that our creative industries will continue to thrive and take advantage of the new opportunities which are opening up to do business across the world."
Culminating the week’s activities was a cross-party Parliamentary debate on the Creative Industries in the UK, for which Ukie provided evidence as Secretariat for the Video Games All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG), ensuring that the sector was represented as a global leader. Co-Chair of the APPG for Video Games, Chris White, MP for Warwick and Leamington, stressed that “Parliament needs to truly champion games as a mainstream creative tech industry right across the UK, and funding should equitably recognise the sector as such.”
He echoed Jo’s call for the government to provide assurances for tax breaks, saying, “Video games tax credits have been a major boost for businesses both locally and nationally and I urge the Government to extend the policy beyond the current period, particularly in light of our upcoming exit from the EU.”
Access to games development financial assistance and the continuation of the UK Video Games Tax Relief has been an ongoing concern for games companies surrounding the Brexit decision. Before the Referendum, Ukie published results of two member-wide surveys, which revealed that the key issues of concern were access to investment, trade, talent and funding programmes if the UK voted to leave the EU.
Ukie are today launching a final follow-up survey of their 300-strong membership, which will inform their actions for the industry going forward in a post-Brexit UK. Members are encouraged to fill in the survey to ensure that Ukie can act as the collective voice of the industry – find the survey here.
Photos of the Ukie Westminster Reception are now up on Ukie’s facebook page.
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About UK Interactive Entertainment (Ukie)
Ukie is committed to supporting, growing and promoting the UK’s games and interactive entertainment sector through education, advocacy and practical support. Its network and membership includes all major UK and global games publishers, the best of the UK’s development talent – from start-ups and micro studios to globally renowned studios operating in the UK today - and the service companies that support the ecosystem, across PCs, consoles, mobile apps, Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality, and eSports.
Ukie works closely with the sector to influence government and decision makers, lobbying successfully for the 2014 Video Games Tax Relief, the UK Games Fund, and the Next Gen Skills campaign which resulted in a new Computer Science Curriculum.
Ukie makes connections for businesses and help them access the opportunities a digital economy offers, via a successful International Trade programme, running UK Games Industry stands at the biggest international industry events.
Ukie promotes the industry by working with the media to raise awareness of the sector’s positive cultural and economic contribution, as well as the societal benefits of games. Ukie runs askaboutgames.com, where families can learn about safe and sensible online practices, parental controls and PEGI age ratings.
Ukie’s skills work serves to increase inclusion and diversity across the talent pipeline, advocating a STEAM approach to programming. Initiates include the Digital Schoolhouse (DSH) programme, the Video Games Ambassadors (VGAs), an active Student Membership scheme, and a professional development training programme.
Ukie commissioned the Blueprint for Growth report in 2015, an independent review of the UK games industry with recommendations for decision makers in Parliament for how the industry can grow by an additional £1bn annually.
In 2016 Ukie partnered with Film London to deliver Games London, a ground breaking new three-year programme to promote the UK as the games capital of the world, the focal point of which is the annual London Games Festival.