UK government says 25 per cent games tax relief will be “among the most generous in the world”

George Osborne

George Osborne

UK chancellor George Osborne today confirmed that tax relief for the nation’s videogame companies will be set at 25 per cent, introduced next year, and be “among the most generous in the world”.

While the draft legislation – put together in consultation with the UK game industry – has to be published, Osborne confirmed the 25 per cent figure in his Autumn Statement this afternoon. A new, £6 million skills fund that the game industry will be able to access was also announced. UK Trade and Investment’s funding is being increased by 25 per cent, and the chancellor gave UK businesses a further helping hand by announcing that corporation tax would be reduced to 21 per cent by 2014 in a bid to stimulate growth.

The two UK trade associations were, of course, quick to react. Ukie CEO Dr Jo Twist made clear her disappointment that the trade body’s recommended 30 per cent relief was not adopted, but said Ukie “was nonetheless pleased to see the rate set at 25 per cent, giving the game sector parity with other UK creative industries.

“As soon as the full draft legislation is published we’ll be poring over the finer details to ensure that the fine tuning and implementation of the proposal is fully in line with the needs of our industry.”

UKIE chairman Andy Payne said: “Having run an independent game development and publishing company for many years, seeing this happen is great and long overdue news.”

Dr Richard Wilson, CEO of fellow UK trade association TIGA, said the relief would “ensure that the UK remains a world leader in the high-technology videogame development industry. A single 25 per cent level of relief will be simple to administer and economically impactful.” He was quick to point out, however, that the UK still lagged behind the likes of Canada, where relief of up to 37.5 per cent is on offer to videogame companies.