Report: ESLPA Expressed Concern During Tax Break Talk with UK Government

December 8, 2010 -

A four-page expose put together by GameIndustry.biz reveals that ELSPA -- the trade group representing the interactive entertainment industry in the UK -- may have quietly been working against tax breaks. While it sounds like a nefarious, under-handed scenario - and one that may have inadvertently sent a mixed signal to the government at the time - the group had its reasons.

While the industry continually lobbied the government last year to provide tax breaks and other business support, ELSPA aired a number of concerns it had with the government over "cultural tax breaks." ELSPA apparently warned the government against such tax breaks, instead urging them to offer the industry 'software' tax breaks.

The difference between the two is vast:

"Currently videogames are classed as 'software' under World Trade Organisation rules, and as such enjoy the benefit of free trade status," wrote ELSPA in its DCMS submission. "Cultural products on the other hand, are afforded a protected status, that allows countries to apply trading restrictions to protect their own locally cultural products and therefore to restrict free trade.

"Any change to the classification of videogames could seriously affect the commercial development of the industry and its long-term future. Currently, videogames are not affected by the imposition of retail levies, output quotas and the like which are applied to cultural industries (such as the French and Spanish film industries) in order to fund the tax relief schemes.

"Our concern is that the provision of a tax relief scheme on cultural grounds could label the industry's products, in the EC's view, once and for all as cultural, and that this could be an irreversible first step towards the imposition of retail levies or further protectionist regulation aimed at sourcing funding to support the tax relief scheme.

"Any introduction of retail levies within the videogame industry would, from the publishers' point of view, erode any previous financial benefit derived from tax relief at the development stage, mainly because retail levies would apply across all products whereas only a percentage of videogames in development would be successful in obtaining tax relief."

ELSPA, now known as UKIE, claimed that it was not engaging in "anti-tax talk" at the time:

"We have no idea where that has come from, it's totally left of field and has certainly not been on the agenda of any of the many political briefings we've been involved in," said ELSPA director general Michael Rawlinson at the time. "That's not to say it's not true, but we've been discussing tax relief for some time, and lobbying solidly. It's something we haven't come across."

Inevitably, the games industry did manage to secure film-style tax breaks in the 2010 budget from outgoing government early in 2010, but as the new government began making deep budget cuts, the tax break was one of the first items on the chopping block.

None of ELSPA's concerns on cultural tax breaks had been made public until the GI.biz report.

On a related note, GI.biz also offers an extensive timeline of events dated January 2008 - November of this year related to ELSPA's public statements on tax breaks for the UK games industry.

Thanks Vincent Scheurer of London-based law firm Sarassin LLP - who had a hand in making the report possible in the first place because of its Freedom of Information Act request on lobbying efforts.


Comments

Re: Report: ESLPA Expressed Concern During Tax Break Talk ...

And we also know that a major unnamed publisher lobbied the government not to introduce tax breaks as it would have had an affect on the Canadian games industry.

 
Forgot your password?
Username :
Password :

Poll

Which Feminist Frequency video are you looking forward to most?:

Shout box

You're not permitted to post shouts.
Andrew EisenI don't know about Joystiq, we may mention it but I don't know that there's that much to really discuss but yeah, Nintendo's YouTube Creator's Program is on the agenda.01/31/2015 - 2:45pm
MonteMatt: they have articles on both Joystiq and nintendo's youtube BS.01/31/2015 - 2:30pm
prh99http://blog.us.playstation.com/2014/12/31/playstation-plus-januarys-free-games/01/31/2015 - 1:56pm
Matthew Wilsonyou guys going to talk about the Joystiq closing, and Nintendo losing its mind?01/31/2015 - 1:11pm
Andrew EisenNeo - Do you have any evidence of that? Please link.01/31/2015 - 11:43am
Papa MidnightI enjoyed the first Prototype... even if the PC Port was horribly done. Prototype 2, however, far exceeds it. It's actually a decent game in my opinion.01/31/2015 - 11:24am
Wonderkarpreally? I didnt play it because the first one sucked. I didnt even know the main characters black01/31/2015 - 10:38am
Neo_DrKefkaFor those who don't know Prototype 2 is free for the PS3 on PS PLUS! It's a great game that failed due to collusion with activist bloggers before the game was released that people would hate it because the main characters black.01/31/2015 - 9:53am
Wonderkarpalso heard Techraptor is working on a big news piece on indiecade01/31/2015 - 9:47am
WonderkarpAndrew : All I know is he was critical of the block list and said the coding was bad.01/31/2015 - 9:42am
prh99Devolvers response to Nintendo's creator program https://mobile.twitter.com/devolverdigital/status/56082061398444851301/31/2015 - 3:24am
Andrew EisenI only know of him being annoyed that IGDA mistakenly hosted on its anti-harassment tools page a blocklist he was on. What else was he critical of?01/31/2015 - 2:19am
Goth_Skunk@WonderKarp: Given Rosario's outspoken criticisms of the conduct of the IGDA, I would not be one bit surprised if he's being strong-armed into silence in closed-door meetings. He's not towing the party line, after all.01/30/2015 - 11:38pm
MechaTama31EZK: Thank you! (And I was able to see that you did it, only because you did it. How appropriate! :)01/30/2015 - 11:37pm
Matthew Wilson@Monte Nintendo is a Japanese company though. consoles are dead in japan. ps sony is a international company, so they do not much care about Japanese sales much.01/30/2015 - 10:11pm
MonteOnly one generation ago nintnedo had the best selling console. They know their games are still popular and can move their hardware. They just need to focus on better gaming hardware and advertising (their youtube policy not helping)01/30/2015 - 9:58pm
MonteI'd expect Nintendo to keep making consoles, much like the gamecube i doubt nintendo will see the Wii U as a sign of the end for consoles. There are multiple reason why the Wii U failed a big one being marketting.01/30/2015 - 9:55pm
Wonderkarpwhen asked on Twitter, the Chairman said He couldnt comment at this time https://twitter.com/siloraptor/status/561284497275367424. still looking for facts01/30/2015 - 9:41pm
Wonderkarphttp://pressfarttocontinue.com/2015/01/30/igda-puerto-rico-closed/ this is what I have so far01/30/2015 - 9:27pm
Wonderkarpso allegedly, IGDA has closed their Puerto Rico branch. This comes after the Chairman of the Puerto Rico branch was blocklisted by Randi Harper. I'm trying to dig up more info on it. all I have is a link with some info, but its not cited.01/30/2015 - 9:27pm
 

Be Heard - Contact Your Politician