The trade association which represents the games industry of the United Kingdom, TIGA, announced today that there was an urgent need to support measures to sustain export oriented and high skilled business sectors of the economy. In this case, the video games industry, the policy makers should support the introduction of Games Tax Relief at the earliest opportunity. Following the publication of the National Strategic Skills which showed that since 2001 the fastest growing jobs in the United Kingdom include "Conversation and Environmental Protection Officers" (up 124 per cent), "Leisure and Theme Park Attendants" (up 102 per cent) and "Beauticians and Related Occupations" (up 63 per cent).
Richard Wilson, CEO of TIGA, said:
“The National Strategic Skills Audit shows that since 2001 there has been a striking decline in manufacturing jobs, while some of the fastest growing occupations in England have been in the public sector and not in export related professions.
“As the UK returns to economic growth we need to rebalance our economy away from an excessive dependence on financial services and public sector employment. Instead, we need to promote export oriented, high skilled, knowledge based business sectors of the economy, including the video games industry.
“The UK game development sector is export oriented: on average 62 per cent of a UK developers’ turnover is generated through exports. The sector is research and development intensive, with two fifths of studios specifically earmarking a budget for research and development purposes. The sector provides highly skilled employment: 60 per cent of a typical studio’s workforce is qualified to degree level or the vocational equivalent and in studios such as Blitz, Exient, Realtime Worlds and Ubisoft Reflections the figure is 80 per cent and above. Skill gaps are limited: 90 per cent of a typical development studio’s workforce is fully proficient at their jobs. Our games businesses have strong connections with higher education: 41 per cent of development studios have links with universities, including in the form of knowledge transfer and joint research activities.”
Jason Kingsley, TIGA Chairman and CEO and Creative Director of Rebellion Studios said:
“The video games industry is exactly the kind of sector that the UK should aim to be predominant in during the 21st Century. The only factor holding us back is the uneven international playing field: our key competitors benefit from tax breaks for games production; we do not yet have one.
“Yet TIGA’s research shows that Games Tax Relief over a five year period would create or protect 3,550 graduate level jobs and increase or safeguard ?457 million in development expenditure. Games Tax Relief will not only enable the UK games sector to compete on a more even playing field. It will also promote the creation of high skilled jobs, enhance investment and stimulate an export focused industry.”