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The Queen's Speech - what does it mean for video games businesses?

The Queen’s Speech has taken place today, setting out the Governments plans and priorities for the parliamentary year ahead.

The Speech, although recited by the Queen, is written by Ministers in Government and announces the proposed legislation they intend to introduce.

What’s relevant for games?
The 2021 Queen’s Speech has laid out 25 Bills, but of those, the following are the most relevant for the games sector:

  •  Online Safety Bill: Unsurprisingly, the Government has re-iterated its intention to introduce an Online Safety Bill. Nothing particularly new has been revealed, simply that the Bill will ensure internet safety “especially for children”. We already understand the proposed framework of the Bill which was set out last year,  and that Ofcom is intended to be the regulator. The Speech did not set out when the Bill will be introduced. However, the Government has confirmed in a House of Commons debate in March that the Bill would be ‘ready’ in 2021.

  • Advanced Research and Invention Agency Bill: This Bill intends to create an agency which will fund high-risk, high-reward research in order to support the creation of ground-breaking technology. The intention is to create a UK equivalent of the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency.
  • Subsidy Control Bill: This Bill intends to establish a domestic UK subsidy control regime following the UK’s exit from the European Union. The Government aims for it to “reflect strategic interests and particular national circumstances”, providing a legal framework within which public authorities make subsidy decisions. The Bill will lead to the creation of a consistent set of UK-wide principles that public authorities must follow when granting subsidies. The Government ran earlier this year a consultation on Subsidy Control, which Ukie responded to and re-emphasised the crucial importance of the Video Games Tax Relief .
  • Skills and Post-16 Education Bill: The Skills and Post-16 Education Bill intends to enable adults to access funding and loans for Higher or Further Education throughout their lifetime. This will consist of up to four years worth of student loans. This is in addition to the Lifetime Skills Guarantee which wil enable, from this year, 11 million adults to be able to gain a Level 3 Qualification. The 400 courses (available here) include Computer Science.
  • Environment Bill: Finally, reflecting the increasing significance of Governments and companies acting against climate change, the Environment Bill intends to establish a new Office for Environment Protection to hold public authorities to account on environmental law. As part of the UN’S Playing for the Planet Alliance, Ukie has created a Green Games Guide to help companies think about how they can improve their approach to sustainability.

In addition to these Bills, the Speech also set out the planned publication of:

  • Levelling Up White Paper: A White Paper which will set out the Government’s policy interventions to ‘level up’ the UK and create jobs, boost training and productivity will be published “later this year”. This would be in addition to the creation of a UK Infrastructure Bank, which would provide financing support to private sector and local authority infrastructure projects across the UK. The Bank will deploy £12billion of equity and debt capital, and £10billion of guarantees to support more than £40billion of infrastructure investment overall. As demonstrated in our Think Global, Create Local report, the games industry is spread across all four nations in the UK and is a significant economic contributor to it’s regional and local areas.
  • Innovation Strategy: This Summer, the Innovation Strategy will outline how the Government will look to promote innovation. As with the Advanced Research and Invention Agency Bill, this clearly highlights the Government’s intention to foster innovation in technology – and the games industry, as a natural innovator of emerging technologies from AI, to VR, is well placed to suit these ambitions.

Want to find out more or chat about something else policy related? Reach out to the policy team.