A member of the U.K. Conservative Party has said the government isn’t doing enough to support the development industry in that country, which he says is under “great threat” from a shortage of suitably skilled graduates as well as competition from other nations.
Jeremy Hunt, the Conservative Party’s Shadow Secretary of State for Culture, said in an interview with MCV that unlike the current Labour government, his party is prepared to take decisive steps to support the industry. Among the proposals he outlined are new tax breaks for the game industry in the U.K., the formulation of economic policies that will “specifically benefit” game companies, and a “more robust IP framework” to combat piracy.
While vague, his support for the industry is expected to be welcome in light of comments made earlier in August, when Eidos CEO Jane Cavanagh said the game industry was “not being taken seriously” by high levels of government. Her comments came after Eidos announced the creation of a new studio in Montreal, creating 350 new jobs and pushing Canada past the U.K. as a development industry employer. “Quebec offers a 37.5 percent contribution towards development salaries, which is a huge incentive,” she said. “Over the years, people have tried to lobby for this sort of funding in the U.K. – in line with the perks given to U.K. film studios – and the result has been pretty much nil.”
Hunt echoed those comments by saying, “Tax breaks for the games industry similar to those experienced by the film industry could go some way to remedying this situation and this is something I will be discussing with my colleagues in the Conservative Treasury team.”
Tracing its roots back to the mid-1600s, the Conservative and Unionist Party of the United Kingdom is one of the oldest political parties in the world. While it held power for the majority of the 20th century, the party has served as Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition since losing the 1997 election to the Tony Blair-led Labour Party.