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EU Commission still delaying UK video game tax breaks

Nearly a year after tax breaks were meant to be established for video game companies in the UK, Tiga says the EU Commission delay is damaging the UK's game industry.
Nearly a year after tax breaks were meant to be established for video game companies in the UK, the European Commission still hasn't made a decision on whether to approve the initiative -- and UK trade body Tiga says the delay is damaging the UK's game industry. The EU Commission said previously that it is investigating whether this relief program is worth going through with, stating that it does not believe that aid is necessary to stimulate the production of video games in the UK. Tiga said this week that the UK game industry is "stuck in the slow lane" thanks to this delay, and that various publishers are considering stalling and pulling out of the UK as a result. Tiga noted that Activision's UK studio Blast Furnace, for example, could potentially utilize the proposed tax breaks, yet may instead be shut down soon. "While a variety of factors are in play, and will determine the outcome of the consultation process, there can be no question Activision's decision underlines once again the critical importance of and urgent need for Games Tax Relief for the UK video games industry," Tiga chairman Richard Wilson said. "The UK has been competing on an un-level playing field with game developers in competing countries such as Canada and many states within the USA receiving significant tax breaks for games production." "We have strong anecdotal evidence that it is now harming the industry," he later added to the BBC News, noting that the EU Commission is being very lax about the investigation, and not providing any real deadline. "They could reply tomorrow, next month, in six months or 12 months," he noted. "This has really gone on for a long time now." While the EU Commission would not comment on when the investigation will be wrapped up, a Treasury spokeswoman said that the UK government is still commited to introducing the video games tax relief as quickly as possible.

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