Chancellor George Osborne published the Comprehensive Spending Review today, setting out the government’s spending plans for the next three years.
Several announcements were made which are important for the UK games industry:
Apprenticeship Levy – a 0.5% levy will be applied to the payroll of all businesses with a wage bill above £3 million, and the money raised used to fund apprenticeships
Arts Council funding – the Arts Council will receive an increase in its budget. Ukie are already in discussion with the Arts Council about how they can give further support to games projects, and we will continue this conversation. Details on the additional funding are still forthcoming.
Innovate UK funding – overall funding provided to businesses by Innovate UK (formerly the Technology Strategy Board) will be kept at the same level. However, many of the grants currently offered will instead be offered as loans, reducing the cost to government.
DCMS budget – the operational budget of the Department for Culture, Media and Sport will be reduced by 20%.
Dr Jo Twist, CEO of Ukie, responded to the CSR, saying:
“This spending review has many important announcements for the UK games industry. Getting the Apprenticeship Levy right in particular is crucial, and Ukie will continue to work closely with government and our partners across the creative industries to ensure it provides real benefits for the games industry. There have also been significant changes announced to the way that UKTI and Innovate UK will work, and additional funding for the Arts Council. We have a great relationship with these organisations and will continue to help them reach games sector companies who would benefit from their support. Our goal is to make sure the support government gives the games industry works for all parts of the industry, and our suggested actions are laid out in our Blueprint for Growth report.”