Tuesday, 22 June 2010

A bad Budget for creativity

The biggest business loser in today's Budget is undoubtedly the video games industry, which lost the tax relief earmarked by Labour’s pre-election budget. It's a massive blow for a sector that annually contributes £1bn to UK GDP. Despite a vague promise of support from Ed Vaizey, the Chancellor this afternoon announced the removal of a tax break he regards as "poorly targeted".

Big mistake. The industry has been lobbying hard for tax relief in the face of tough competition from countries such as France and Canada, which enjoy government subsidies that allow developers to pay more for the best talent.

In the past, the UK has more than punched above its weight in the sector, rivaling games giants Japan and the US. But with more attractive packages available in English-speaking Canada and Australia, or closer to home in France, developers fear a "brain drain" of talented programmers. In a Budget purporting to inject life back into the private sector, Osborne has greatly underestimated the value of one of Britain's most valuable creative industries.

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