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UK video game tax breaks delayed, 'can't come soon enough'

The long-awaited video game tax relief in the UK will come into force as part of the current Finance Bill as proposed by the government -- although it will be introduced later than expected.
The long-awaited video game tax relief in the UK will come into force as part of the current Finance Bill as proposed by the government -- although it will be introduced later than expected. It is hoped that the proposed tax relief for the video games sector will help to increase employment, innovation and investment in the UK video games industry. The government had previously said that tax breaks for British video game studios would come into force this April. However, the EU Commission has not yet cleared the proposed tax breaks for State Aid, says Richard Wilson, CEO of UK video game trade association TIGA. Introducing the tax relief at the earliest possible opportunity is a "top priority," he added. "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." Wilson added to Gamasutra, "We hope that this delay will be minimal. Neither the Government nor TIGA want investment decisions in the UK video games industry to be adversely affected by any delay." TIGA is no doubt keen to make sure that it puts its full weight behind the proposed tax relief, so that it is not scrapped as per a previous attempt. The proposed tax relief for video games won't simply affect the games industry, with other parts of the economy that also have an interest in the tax breaks. Lorraine Ruckstuhl, head of technology, media and telecoms at financial services company Barclays told Gamasutra, "The UK faces stiff competition from around the world when it comes to tax incentives for these games developments, not only from a financing perspective, but also for talent." "Talented individuals naturally follow the work, and this means we’re seeing a flight of expertise from the UK. The new credits can't come soon enough." She added that, while the tax relief is due to drop over the coming summer, "it will take some time before games developers will be able to take advantage of them and deliver a finished game - realistically we can't expect to see this until 2014." "However, once they're fully up and running the UK will become a much more attractive destination for overseas developers looking for cost-effective game development," she said. "This will be a clear boost to both the industry and the UK economy." The UK government said earlier this year that it is looking to make Britain "Europe's technology centre" with the upcoming tax breaks, which it hopes will coax more developers to build up their studios in the UK.

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