It’s been a challenging year financially for many sectors, for people, for freelancers – and indeed for the Treasury. But, despite its resilience through the pandemic, we need to ensure the games sector can continue to compete globally, produce new IP, and create meaningful jobs across the country.
The Chancellor will present the Government’s Budget on 3 March, and Ukie has proposed an ambitious growth package in our submission to the Treasury. The suite of measures, if delivered, will help boost the whole of Britain’s economy as we recover from the pandemic, while also promoting the best of British innovation, science, skills and trade.
As the nation recovers, it is essential to support struggling sectors. It is also an opportunity to turbocharge areas of real national strength. The video games industry is one such area – something which is recognised by government.
We know we are an economic and cultural powerhouse and a vital part of the UK’s world-leading creative industries. We are working on new figures with the BFI, to be revealed soon, which show how many people our sector employs and what our sector delivers back to the economy. But we know this industry supports nearly 50,000 jobs across the UK from Dundee to Belfast; Cardiff to Newcastle.
These jobs are, on average, 35% more productive than the UK industrial average, and half of them are outside of London and the South East. The government acknowledges this and we continue to highlight how we are the sector that can really help “level up“ the UK.
Throughout the pandemic, the sector has demonstrated a 21st-century ability to be agile, creative in problem-solving and innovation. Less than one-quarter of video game businesses have needed to access Government support while nearly half of video game businesses reported an increase in revenues and many companies have continued to recruit.
But we cannot take our resilience for granted. Global competition is fierce and the competitive advantage we hold can just as easily be lost as enhanced. And the sector does face medium to long term challenges, not least talent shortages, which require support to overcome.
We have proposed the following support measures to ensure the industry will be a champion of British exporting and growth, ensuring that the UK remains a significant force on the world stage.
Ukie has called for the Government to:
- Boost already impressive industry growth by investing in new content and IP through a three year £24m UK Games Development Fund;
- Capitalise on our position at the top table of games production by turbocharging our international trade potential with a £700k trade and investment programme;
- Create a coordinated, national games business support programme that will accelerate the business capacity and knowledge of UK games companies, making them the best equipped in the world to grow and seek investment
- Shore up the talent pipeline to enable new entrants into the sector through a £2.6m Games Trainee fund; and
- Expanding the hugely successful Video Games Tax Relief (VGTR) to increase tax receipts, create jobs, boost exports and level up the UK.
Over recent years, the Government has provided welcome support for the industry through VGTR, the UK Games Fund and Transfuzer (‘UKGFT’), and funding via the Tradeshow Access Program (‘TAP’). This incentivises the development of British, world-leading intellectual property and technology that is enjoyed by billions across the globe but also gives global investors and those looking to set up in the UK confidence.
But with the right additional support in place, the UK can continue to reach further heights and stand out as one of the best nations in the world for video games development.