Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne yesterday delivered the 2015 UK Budget to the House of Commons, and in his speech to Parliament described Britain as “a cultural centre of the world.”
The creative industries deliver huge economic benefits to the UK, and as the government has already introduced new tax reliefs for high-end television, video games, animation and theatre, and expanded the film tax relief. To encourage further investment in the UK, Osborne announced that the government would make “our TV and film tax credits more generous, expand our support for the video games industry” and “launch our new tax credit for orchestras.”
This includes an increase in the rate of film tax relief to 25 per cent for all qualifying expenditure, and extending the high-end television tax relief by reducing the minimum UK expenditure requirement from 25 per cent to 10 per cent.
The government will also introduce a new children’s television tax relief from April 2015, which will include children’s programmes that are game shows or competitions, and from April next year new orchestra tax relief will be introduced at a rate of 25 per cent.
The skills shortage in the technology and media industries is widely acknowledged–1.4 million digital professionals will be needed over the next five years, according to a 2014 Digital Sector Skills Assessment report by Parthenon Analysis. The 2015 Budget seeks to address this, promising an investment in skills and business development in the creative industries. The government will extend the Skills Investment Fund, providing £4 million to ensure that it can continue to match fund support for training and development in film, television, visual effects, video games and animation for a further two years. However, we also reported today that fewer firms in the media industry will take on apprentices this year compared with last year.
Osborne also announced the government’s pledge to promote a vibrant business environment for new and growing video games companies across the UK by committing £4 million to a new Video Games Prototype Fund over the next four years; this fund is designed to aid access to finance and business support, and to target games development talent.