Government plans to introduce “generous” tax reliefs to the UK’s video games sector have been approved by the European Commission.
The relief scheme was first announced in the 2012 Budget but had to be approved by the EC to ensure its compliance under state aid rules.
Today the Commission Vice-President in charge of competition policy, Joaquín Almunia, announced his officials had given the scheme the all-clear.
He said: “Our initial doubts have been dispelled. The proposed aid for video games is indeed focusing on a small number of distinctive, culturally British games which have increasing difficulties to find private financing.”
Around 25% of UK produced games would be eligible for aid under the scheme and the EC have backed the Government’s view that without the help the number of new culturally British games is likely to decline considerably.
Commenting on the Commission’s decision, UK Chancellor George Osborne said: “This is a key industry of the future and I want Britain to be one of its biggest centres. 95% of UK video games companies in the UK are SMEs.
“This relief is one of the most generous in the world and will help them to grow, creating new jobs for hardworking people.”
Dr Jo Twist, CEO of UK games and interactive entertainment trade body, Ukie, added: “This is amazing news for the UK games and interactive entertainment sector and will help developers of all shapes and sizes to grow and make more games right here in the UK.
“This is the culmination of an immense amount of hard work and we’re delighted to have played our part in a collective effort to get the tax reliefs in place.”