Will UK government backing continue after the general election? We hope so!

The fledgling growth in the UK economy has, in part, been thanks to burgeoning sales of blockbuster video games – which reached as much as £2.19bn in 2013. The industry, as a result, is growing three times faster than other sectors in recent years.
 
Creative England recently received, for the third year running, an investment from the government’s Regional Growth Fund. The £8m award is to support businesses involved with games, television, film and digitally creative productions. Said Caroline Norbury, Chief Executive of Creative England: “We’ve supported award-winning games developers, digital healthcare platforms and the latest social media software and apps. This £8m means we can continue to invest in the best creative talent and businesses in cities all across England.”
 
Investment is only one benefit the industry is enjoying. Tax relief of up to 25% on the production of British video games, announced last summer, will protect 10,000 jobs in the sector. Games are being scored on their cultural content using a points system; where a title is developed and the nationality of key personnel is also taken into account.
 
David Gauke, Financial Secretary to the Treasury at the time, said: “Companies will be able to benefit from the tax relief we’ve introduced, enabling the UK to continue to be a world-class producer of video games.” Added Ed Vaizey, Minister for Culture and the Digital Economy, “From Lego Star Wars to Moshi Monsters, our video games companies are already regarded as world leaders.”
 
Considering that 95% of UK video games developers are SMEs, such a move is expected to create almost £35m support for the sector. It also makes the UK a fertile ground for overseas studios and companies to base their projects here – boosting the prospect of more jobs. 
 
News of tax relief benefits came only months after the government’s pledge to provide education, qualifications and apprenticeships for the sector’s next generation of developers. Vince Cable, Business Secretary, said, “Visual effects, and games in particular, are a great British success story. But if we're to maintain our cutting-edge position, we need to make sure that we have the talent and skills the industry needs.” The investment into the training of tomorrow’s developers, via the Next Gen Skills Academy, equals a £2.7m investment over the next three years, an amount more than matched by employers’ investments.
 
There’s no surprise that creative industries, and in particular, the video games industry, is piquing government interest when it shows such fast, sustainable growth, job creation, and promises of more to come. Mentioned in most, if not all, political parties’ manifestos during this year’s election, shows the industry’s significance to the economy. It’s important, however, that these initiatives and investments continue after the election, if video games companies are to remain fertile and thrive.
 
So, it’s been good news on many fronts for the UK video games industry of late. Plenty of scope, support and funds to develop new games, investment into the skills of existing and future personnel, and an attractive place for other countries to bring more work here; the government will be wise to continue lending its support, given the industry’s bright future.
 
Gravity Games Recruitment is a global specialist in the placement of talent across the full spectrum of positions within video game development.  We recruit for growing studios of all shapes, sizes and genres. To find out more, contact us on 01302 319 101, or email us at info@gravityrecruitment.com.

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