Britain’s game development community received some good news this week that gave them hope that tax relief for the industry is still a possibility. One of the most vocal supporters of giving the games industry tax relief is now at the top of the political heap. Labour MP Tom Watson has been appointed as Labour Party deputy chair, part of a reshuffle of the opposition party. Watson, whose activism during the News Corp phone hacking scandal saw his popularity soar, is also an avid video game fan.
In the past he has told video game industry publications such as Develop that the UK needs a games tax relief scheme to aid the nation’s triple-A games studios. Naturally organizations such as TIGA are delighted with this news.
"This is fantastic news," Richard Wilson, CEO of games trade association TIGA, told Develop. "This is a well deserved promotion. Tom Watson is a fantastic advocate of the games industry, we hope he will continue to shape Labour Party thinking towards the games industry."
"Labour's Shadow Cabinet reshuffle is good for the video games industry," TIGA CEO Richard Wilson told GamesIndustry.biz. "Harriet Harman is a big hitter and immensely experienced. As Shadow Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport she will certainly hold the Government front bench team to account. "The appointment of Chukka Umunna MP to the position of Shadow Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills is positive. He is a rising star in the Labour Party."
Wilson also praised Tom Watson for helping found consumer group Gamers' Voice, and for his strong support of TIGA's tax relief lobbying efforts.
"The appointment of Tom Watson MP to the position of Labour Party Deputy Chair and Campaign Coordinator is excellent news and is very well deserved. Tom is an enthusiastic supporter of the video games industry and a strong advocate of Games Tax Relief and other measures to help the sector. It is great to have Tom in a position where he can champion the industry in senior political circles."
Watson’s new role as deputy chair elevates him to front-line politics and a seat at party leader Ed Miliband’s table.