February 22, 2021
Ukie says that despite the resilience of the games industry through the pandemic, “we need to ensure the games sector can continue to compete globally, produce new IP, and create meaningful jobs across the country”.
The Chancellor will present the Government’s Budget on 3 March 2021, and Ukie has proposed an ambitious growth package in its submission to the Treasury. Ukie says that the suite of measures, if delivered, will “help boost the whole of Britain’s economy as we recover from the pandemic, while also promoting the best of British innovation, science, skills and trade”. As the nation recovers, it is essential to support struggling sectors and it is also “an opportunity to turbocharge areas of real national strength”, such as the video games industry.
Ukie says that the games industry is “an economic and cultural powerhouse and a vital part of the UK’s world-leading creative industries”. It is working on new figures with the BFI, to be revealed soon, which show how many people the sector employs and what the sector delivers back to the economy.
However, the industry already supports nearly 50,000 jobs across the UK from Dundee to Belfast, Cardiff to Newcastle. These jobs are, on average, 35% more productive than the UK industrial average, and half of them are outside of London and the South East. The Government acknowledges this and Ukie says that it continues to highlight how the games sector can really help “level up” the UK.
Throughout the pandemic, the sector has demonstrated a 21st-century ability to be agile, creative in problem-solving and innovation, Ukie says. Less than one-quarter of video game businesses have needed to access Government support while nearly half of video game businesses reported an increase in revenues and many companies have continued to recruit. However, Ukie says, the the industry cannot take its resilience for granted. Global competition is fierce, and the current competitive advantage can just as easily be lost as enhanced. Further, the sector faces medium to long term challenges, not least talent shortages, which require support to overcome.
Ukie has proposed the following support measures to “ensure the industry will be a champion of British exporting and growth, ensuring that the UK remains a significant force on the world stage”:
- boost already impressive industry growth by investing in new content and IP through a three year £24 million UK Games Development Fund;
- capitalise on the industry’s position at the top table of games production by turbocharging its international trade potential with a £700k trade and investment programme;
- create a coordinated, national games business support programme that will accelerate the business capacity and knowledge of UK games companies, making them the best equipped in the world to grow and seek investment;
- shore up the talent pipeline to enable new entrants into the sector through a £2.6 million Games Trainee fund; and
- expand the hugely successful Video Games Tax Relief (VGTR) to increase tax receipts, create jobs, boost exports and level up the UK.
Ukie says that with the right additional support in place, the UK can “continue to reach further heights and stand out as one of the best nations in the world for video games development”. To read Ukie’s press release in full, click here.