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Scottish Affairs Committee publishes report on video games industry in Scotland

The Scottish Affairs Committee this week published its report: The Video Games Industry in Scotland, in which it urges the Government to make the future of the sector a priority in the face of emerging barriers for growth.

It says this is a 'golden age of opportunity' for the video games industry and proper support for small companies accessing global audiences is vital. But the Committee warns that overseas government subsidies, cheaper labour markets and skills shortages have created an uneven international playing field.

Ian Davidson MP, Chair of the Committee, said:

"The Committee strongly believes that the video games interactive technology industry is potentially a world leader for the UK and the Government must do more to encourage development and growth in the sector."

Tax relief

The Committee says the possibility of a games industry tax relief should be kept under review and that the industry is monitored for the potentially malign effects of uneven international competition. 

In the meantime, a comprehensive assessment of the benefits of a games tax relief should be carried out, along with an examination of countries whose industries flourish without such support.

Shortage of graduates

A shortage of adequately qualified graduates to sustain the industry is a real concern. Greater focus on the hard skills such as maths and computer science is needed, and the level of engagement between higher education institutions and the industry should be addressed, as should the brain drain of graduates to countries offering better incentives.

The Committee highlights the University of Abertay as an example of outstanding and innovative practices which should be replicated across the UK.

The creation and retention of intellectual property is a priority issue for the UK video games industry and the Committee welcomes the Government’s review of intellectual property taxation and will monitor its outcome. 

The failure of the creative industries Minister to lobby the Treasury directly on games tax relief is both surprising and disappointing and the Committee asks the Government to explain how the industry’s voice will be heard properly in future. 

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