UK culture secretary Jeremy Hunt knows that the Canadian government is leading his country’s game developers away like the pied piper, with lucrative tax deals and incentives. Speaking to The Guardian, Hunt said that his country needs to provide similar incentives to keep developers in the country and entice other developers into the country.
"We need to offer the video game industry a package as financially competitive as Canada," Hunt told The Guardian. "I don’t know if [a tax break] was the right way to go."
His comments come on the heels of last week’s UK budget, which sweetened the pot for game developers with expanded research and development tax credits, but no tax breaks.
While the Canadian game industry grew by 33 percent in the period between 2008 and 2010, the UK games industry declined by 9 percent. This is probably not a coincidence..
While Hunt thinks the industry needs tax relief, he doesn’t have any roadmap to provide them to game developers. Trade groups such as UKIE and Tiga have done their best to lobby the government leading up to the latest budget, and Ian Livingstone (life president of Eidos) even managed to get a private meeting with UK Chancellor George Osbourne.
But still no tax relief.. I hope that Hunt’s words are more than mere lip service and at some point down the road the UK will start treating its game industry like Canada does.