On Tuesday, Ukie, in partnership with Activision Blizzard and Ubisoft, hosted its largest ever Westminster Political Reception to announce a range of policy recommendations and to celebrate the cultural and economic importance of the UK games sector.
The event, held at Millbank Tower, was attended by more than 200 members, MPs, Peers, policy makers and industry figures from a range of creative industry sectors.
The event saw the launch of the new Ukie Policy Manifesto for the next Parliament that outlines initial plans for how to further grow the UK games sector following the introduction of tax breaks earlier this year, and the introduction of the new Computing curriculum earlier this week.
Created with input from Ukie’s members, the Policy Manifesto calls for action on three headline areas of policy support:
· Support to help UK games companies grow across the UK – including regulatory stability, better infrastructure and a long term roadmap where games businesses can access public funding and support proportionate to the other screen industries
· Promotion of the UK games industry abroad – demonstrating that the UK is one of the leading videogame industries in the world, including a focus on funding, fully supporting and working with industry on trade and investment activity such as trade missions and helping UK businesses to reach overseas marketplaces
· Building a strong and diverse talent pipeline – including supporting the new Computing Curriculum, investing in careers guidance and extending and making permanent the Skills Investment Fund
The reception heard from Justin Tomlinson MP, PPS to Ed Vaizey, on the work that the coalition government has done to support the UK games sector.
Justin Tomlinson MP said: ““The UK games industry is going from strength to strength, recovering some of the ground lost to other countries over the last few years. This growth has been helped very much by the hard work put in by Ukie and the major policy initiatives introduced by this government, such as a new computing curriculum and the recent introduction of production tax relief. However, more can of course be done and in my new role working closely with Ed Vaizey I very much welcome Ukie’s new Policy Manifesto and look forward to discussing its recommendations with Jo and her team in more detail over the coming months.”
The guests also heard from Dr Jo Twist, CEO of Ukie, and Roy Stackhouse, General Manager for Activision Blizzard UK and Ireland, discussing Ukie’s manifesto proposals and the strength of the UK as a place to make games.
Ukie CEO, Dr Jo Twist said: “We were delighted by the introduction of games industry tax relief earlier this year but quickly realised that it is essential that we maximise the opportunities that the new scheme presents. We have therefore spent the last six months speaking to our members from across the breadth of our sector about the measures that they would like to see the UK government introduce to truly put the UK’s games industry on the global map. Our Policy Manifesto outlines our members priority asks and we will be following this up with more detailed papers and briefings to MPs to continue our push to make this the best country in the world to make and sell games.”
UK MD of Ubisoft, Rob Cooper commented on the importance of the Westminster Reception in maintaining a positive view of the UK games sector: “Events like these are vital in showing the significance of the UK games industry, both culturally and economically, to a high profile audience of policy makers and other VIPs. We are delighted to support this year’s event and Ukie’s work generally in giving a voice to UK games businesses of all sizes from multinationals like Ubisoft, to smaller developers, making and selling some of the most vibrantly creative interactive entertainment in the world.”
Guests at the reception had a chance to play some of Ubisoft and Activision Blizzard’s latest titles including Valiant Hearts: The Great War, Just Dance 2014, Diablo III and Skylanders: Trap Team. Charity Special Effect were also there demonstrating their latest innovations to help young people with different abilities enjoy games.
You can find Ukie’s Policy Manifesto for the New Parliament here: http://ukie.org.uk/news/2014/09/ukie-westminster-reception