In a previous post I highlighted the NESTA report for the UK government recommending a range of interventions to support the games industry. This is an area for Scotland where our world leading talent should be supported and where Scotland can be a global leader and achieve economic growth while promoting cutlural identity.
Mike Russell MSP, the Culture Minister, has recently visited Canada where the state does support its games industry and indeed gained competitive edge over Scotland through some of its fiscal interventions.
In an encouraging letter in today’s Scotsman Russell states:
We have seen an explosion of creative talent and recent notable success of gaming developers based in Scotland but I believe the industry’s potential is not fully realised. Clever, strategic support in the form of joint agency collaboration and tax incentives would give our gaming entrepreneurs that extra edge.
We have already set ambitious and realistic parameters to widen support and improve opportunities for success for our creative industries. Creative Scotland will work closely with the enterprise agencies and the local authority umbrella organisation Cosla to enable and develop business for creative practitioners – gaming is a key strand.
He then goes on to say
Currently, the Scottish Parliament does not have the full fiscal powers to offer incentives and stimulate business. Such powers are vitally needed; with them we will deliver a stronger, more productive creative industry landscape
Additional tax raising powers would allow Scotland to make specific fiscal interventions like tax breaks. But, given we dont have these at the moment, there is ample opportunity to achieve tax incentives within the UK. Tax incentives in film which apply in Scotland are administered through the UK Film Council . The specific tax inventives suggested by NESTA would give the UK games industry support through a range of tax incentives. That, combined with other interventions and support made by Creative Scotland and Scottish Enterprise, could deliver the package of support we need.