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Autumn Budget Round Up: what it means for the games industry

Another year, another Autumn Budget. Chancellor Rishi Sunak has unveiled a variety of announcements related to Government spending. We’ve distilled the most pertinent proposals that are relevant to the games industry.  


First things first, and rare for a Budget, the games industry received a specific mention. The Government confirmed  £42million over the next three years to provide “bespoke support” to the UK’s independent film and video games industries. 

The exact form of this support remains to be seen, and indeed some of this funding will be going to the independent film sector, but it is good to see the Government recognise the value in supporting the UK’s games industry. Of course, support for the games industry is what we have called for in our own Budget and Spending Review submissions. 


One announcement from the Budget which was bound to grab headlines was a confirmation of an increase to the National Living Wage. From the 1st of April 2022, it will increase by 6.6% to £9.50 an hour. This will coincide with increases in the National Minimum Wage for young people and apprentices as well. 

The Government has been keen to support adult learning and reskilling opportunities, particularly following the pandemic. The Budget has reemphasised this, with a commitment to increase funding for initiatives such as the Lifetime Skills Guarantee,which offers free Level 3 courses for adults, and Skills Bootcamps. For the latter, the Government is seeking to quadruple the current scale of them, with a focus on the digital sector.  

In addition to this, the Government also announced a further investment of £1.6billion in 16-19 year olds’ education in England with the intention of providing additional hours for those taking T-levels. Funding for apprenticeships will also receive a boost to £2.7 billion by 2024-2025. 

Of course, access international talent is also hugely important for the games sector. This is in part due to ongoing domestic skills gaps, but also because as a cultural industry the creative contributions diverse teams make to games is invaluable. On this note, the Government will introduce a new Scale-Up visa next Spring that intends to help the growing businesses access overseas talent. Both UK and non-UK firms with three years of 20% growth in either headcount or revenue will be able to sponsor visas. 

Finally, the Government will launch a “Global Talent Network”, initially launching in the Bay Area and Boston in the US as well as Bengaluru in India, to find and bring talented people to the UK to work in key science and technology sectors.  


The Start Up Loans scheme will continue, with the Government announcing an additional £312million per year. This is a loan from the Government of up to £25k as well as 12 months of mentoring to support new businesses.  

In additional to this, the government has confirmed £1.6billion for the British Business Bank’s Regional Fund to provide debt and equity finance to SMEs, and to expand the Regional Angels Programme. 

The Government also intends to support companies in relocating to the UK, bringing in high-skilled jobs and investment, and has launched a consultation on corporate re-domiciliation to enable this.  


The games sector is often a hotbed for developing emerging technologies which have wider uses across society – from AI to VR.  

The Government intends to make the UK a “science superpower”. As a result, the Budget included an announcement to increase UK spend on Research & Development (R&D) to £20billion a year, up from £14.8billion.   

The Government also seeks to support private R&D investment by increasing funding for core Innovate UK programmes, reaching £1 billion per year by 2024-25. 

A final note on R&D related announcements: following a consultation last year, the Government will be expanding the R&D tax credit to cover cloud computing and data costs. This is in addition to refocusing the reliefs towards innovation in the UK.  


All these funding announcements sound exciting, but the Budget also announced an upcoming consultation on a potential Online Sales Tax. We will keep our eyes peeled for any developments that may impact the sector.