UK games tax breaks delayed

The long-awaited video game tax relief in the UK won’t come into force next month as originally expected, the UK government confirmed today as part of the 2013 budget.

It said the introduction of tax breaks has been delayed pending European Commission approval of the cultural test that will determine which projects qualify for relief.

While clearly disappointed by the hold up, the association for UK Interactive Entertainment (UKIE) and games industry trade body TIGA both said they’d received assurances that the government remains committed to introducing tax breaks at the earliest possible opportunity.

UKIE CEO Jo Twist said: "We were prepared for this as it was always a possibility when establishing an entirely new European tax scheme, especially as games are so different to film and TV. We hope that the delay will be a short one and shall now be doing everything that we can, working with UK government, the European Commission and TIGA, to get the state aid approval that we need as soon as possible. They absolutely will still happen."

TIGA CEO Richard Wilson said: "Although games tax relief has not yet received state aid clearance from the EU Commission, TIGA has been assured that the UK government is committed to this relief, will be legislating for this relief in the finance bill and will deliver this relief. Games tax relief is vitally important because its introduction will enable the UK to compete on a level playing field against our overseas competitors who already have tax breaks.”

In better news, the government today outlined plans to increase skills funding in the creative industries by £10 million over the next two years, having already pledged £6 million last November, of which a quarter had been made available to the games industry.

TIGA research published earlier this week found that employment in the UK development sector grew by four percent in 2012 following three straight years of declines.