The Autumn Budget contains mixed messages for the creative sectors. It signalled an extension to the UK Games Fund, but for just one additional year, more generous EIS tax relief which is great news to investors, an increase in Research and Development tax credits which many games studios will utilise, and an initiative around “immersive technology for creative content”. There is also a commitment to help creative sectors access growth funding, although how this will function has yet to be revealed. There is little detail on a sector deal for the Creative Sector, but the government plans on releasing an Industrial Strategy White paper on Monday 27th November which will give more information.
The BGI campaign team is naturally disappointed that there is no mention of the BGI initiative in this Budget. We hope the White Paper will contain more ambitious plans for supporting the Creative Sectors and more specifically the games development sector which is growing at nearly 5 times the rate of the UK economy. We face some intractable problems which have been solved in other UK and European sectors through strategic public funding and generated significant returns on investment.
Irrespective of the White Paper’s recommendations, this is just the start of the BGI campaign, which will continue until the BGI is funded. The team behind the BGI has long experience in originating and lobbying for ambitious projects, such as Video Games Tax Relief, that faced obstacles but went on to win government support and have massive impact on our sector.
The BGI has received unprecedentedly wide support from games and other stakeholders as well as 10,000 members of the public plus a growing number of MPs. It is an ambitious strategic initiative featuring significant private sector co-investment that addresses the heart of the Industrial Strategy’s search for schemes from nationwide knowledge economy sectors with global scale and massive growth potential.
The BGI team has started a dialogue with Government and has been invited to continue that dialogue post-Budget. We look forward to discussing how to deliver its strategic objectives and found a new agency for games culture in the UK.