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Government hints at gaming tax breaks

Labour admits it's looking into it

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Newly appointed Culture Secretary Ben Bradshaw has hinted that UK videogame developers may be granted direct tax breaks.

The revelation was made during a recent House of Commons debate. Bradshaw said that the government is “looking at introducing further tax breaks” for the games industry.

Bradshaw’s comment was made in response to a remark from Labour MP Tom Watson, who implied that the Culture Secretary’s department should give the games developers “similar status to that of the UK music and film industries”, both of which already benefit from directly attributable tax breaks.

Although Bradshaw stated that "research and development tax credits are available for the [videogame] industry”, a spokeswoman for the Entertainment and Leisure Software Publishers Association (Elspa) today told Register Hardware that such firms can only apply for funding through the back door.

“There are tax breaks available for videogame R&D," she said, "but not directly – more as a cultural or non-specific tax break.”

Nonetheless, Bradshaw’s hint at a possible tax break will be welcome news for Richard Wilson, CEO of game development trade body Tiga.

He has long campaigned for the introduction of a 20 per cent tax break for game studios. This, it's estimated, would cost taxpayers £150m ($242m/€173m) over five years.

In a statement released today, Wilson also urged the Conservative party to “support a tax break for games production” in the UK. ®

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