Tory Culture Minister Ed Vaizey has stated the UK games industry isn't going to collapse as a result of the cancellation of tax relief, saying suggestions to the contrary are "just so wide of the mark."
Vaizey made the statement at the Develop conference in Brighton today; a speech that was clearly written before he knew the full details of the budget.
On the day of the budget, the organisers of the Develop conference stated, Vaizey "has promised that both the Conservatives and the new Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, back his pledge to breathe new life into the UK game industry with tax relief." A few hours later, it turned out this promise was pretty worthless.
"Tax policy is very much the province of the Chancellor," pointed out Vaizey when asked why the tax relief scheme was described as "poorly targeted" in the budget. "I can't emphasise enough that I'm not the Chancellor."
Explaining the change in policy towards video games tax breaks, Vaizey said, "There was a change of tone in the sense of urgency of dealing with the deficit in terms of spending." He also pointed out that other tax relief schemes, such as the married couples tax break, had been dropped as well.
Nevertheless, Vaizey says he's confident the UK "remains in an environment where you [games developers] can compete," and tried to console the crowd with the knowledge that there had at least been a drop in corporation tax.
Vaizey also told TIGA CEO Richard Wilson that the he hadn't "made the case for game tax breaks, because the chancellor didn't accept it in the Budget. You would need to make it to me and George Osborne again."