Ukie calls for significant new funding in Budget 2017

Ukie sets out four key asks for the Autumn Budget

The Chancellor of the Exchequer, Philip Hammond announced last Autumn that the Government would be moving to a single fiscal event each year, doing away with the familiar twice yearly event. The move was welcomed by business groups and economists for helping to promote more certainty and stability.

This is arguably one of the most significant Budgets for a while. Coming at an uncertain time for the future of the UK following the EU referendum, there is much need for clarity and confidence in our economy. Whilst there are some challenges ahead, we believe that the post-referendum world offers further opportunities to support the games sector.

Ahead of the Autumn Budget Ukie have written to the Chancellor to put forward four key asks to the Treasury to further strengthen and support the sector. Covering public funding, skills and talent and trade and investment the proposals build on the work Ukie have led over the last 18 months, starting with our State of Play report, through our Powering Up manifesto and into our continuing engagement in the development of the Sector Deal for the Creative Industries as part of the Government’s new Industrial Strategy.

The four proposals put forward by Ukie are:

Public Funding

We call on the Government to enhance the existing UK Games Fund programme through funding of £23.7m over the next 5 years. This will bring benefit to building commercially sustainable businesses, address the well documented funding gap beyond the scope of the existing scheme and support cultural and initially non-commercial projects.

Skills and Talent Development

In support of the new computing curriculum Ukie, together with the games sector, has developed the Digital Schoolhouse programme. To further expand and develop this programme we call on the government to support the development and expansion of the Digital Schoolhouse programme through an investment of £1.5m over 4 years.

Trade and Investment

We call on the Government to providing support and funding to encourage more 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.

Looking internationally, we recommend that the Government seize the opportunities presented by the games sector for greater regional and international trade through supporting a worldwide plan of international trade and investment activity for the games industry.

The Government  also commissioned an independent review into the creative industries by Sir Peter Bazalgette, to help inform the development of the Industrial Strategy. It is gratifying to see his recommendations echoing the messages we have been pushing for some time. In addition to the recommendations above we agree with the recommendation that the Government should take a more strategic approach to fostering growth in the video games industry and highlighting its cultural impacts.  We hope these recommendations, alongside our own asks, can be taken forward and backed in the forthcoming budget.