Computer games industry calls for tax relief to halt exodus of talent from UK

BRITAIN’S computer games industry has called for a tax break to prevent the so-called brain drain that has seen 20 per cent of UK companies lose staff to jobs overseas in the last 12 months.

TIGA, the trade association representing the UK video games industry, yesterday warned that large-scale emigration of skilled and experienced staff away from the UK was threatening the sector.

TIGA’s recent survey of 104 UK game businesses showed that over the last 12 months, 20 per cent of those polled had lost medium to senior level staff to foreign countries, with the majority leaving for Canada.

Dr Richard Wilson, chief executive of TIGA said: “Unfortunately, some of our overseas competitors, powered by tax breaks for games production, have the financial resources available to entice some development staff away from the UK to work in their studios. This is not just damaging to the UK video games sector. It is damaging to the UK economy.”

Despite PWC predicting a growth in the global market for video games from $52.5bn in 2009 to $86.8bn by 2014, the UK game development sector has seen a nine per cent fall in employment over the last two years, with annual investment falling from £458m to £41m.

In contrast, the Canadian games industry has grown by 33 per cent over the same time period.