Jim McGovern presses government on support for computer games industry
Today Jim McGovern, MP for Dundee West, led a special parliamentary debate calling on the government to do more to support the UK computer games industry.
Mr McGovern secured the special Westminster Hall Debate in order to ask the government to look again at its policies toward the industry. The debate was attended by Department for Culture, Media and Sport Minister John Penrose MP and a number of MPs.
In the debate Mr McGovern pressed the government to look again at the case for tax breaks for the industry, and the danger that international competition was harming the industry. Mr McGovern highlighted the loss of UK jobs to Canada, the announcement that Ireland would introduce a similar tax incentive scheme shortly, and that the U.S. state of Pennsylvania recently became the 17th U.S. state to offer tax breaks to games developers.
Mr McGovern also called on the government to introduce a Creative Content Fund to target funding to creative businesses like computer games developers. He also called for better targeting of the Research & Development Tax Credits scheme. He asked that they ensure they improve access to finance for games developers from banks and investors, and to make sure that higher education institutions are supported to develop the graduates that this industry needs.
Mr McGovern noted that the government’s concern for cost saving and simplifying the business tax environment was harming the industry. He argued for ‘specific solutions to specific problems’ and that this government’s reliance on a hands-off approach to government support simply wasn’t working.
Jim McGovern said;
“I was delighted to have secured this debate in parliament. This has been a long running campaign, and one that deserves to be taken seriously by this government.”
“Their response was what I had expected, but it remains disappointing. The Minister seemingly failed to grasp the fact that international competition was leading to jobs moving abroad, and he failed to recognise that that government must introduce incentives that rival our competitors.”
“I was particularly alarmed to hear that the government is of the opinion that we accept as a ‘fact of life’ that Dundee graduates will leave the UK in order to continue working in the industry. This is sadly a sign of defeatism from the government. There is much this government could to do support the industry in order to increase investment and create jobs.”
“It is clear their do-nothing approach to business support isn’t working. They must introduce specific solutions to the specific problems faced by the computer games industry as a matter of priority.”
Mr McGovern concluded;
“I received a great deal of cross party support in this debate. This is a campaign that will continue. The government persists in failing to see that we are being outwitted by our international competitors. I will go on pressing them to introduce the policies that the computer games industry needs in order to succeed for the benefit of Dundee and the wider UK economy."