We thought politicians were meant to hate videogames? Apparently someone forgot to send the memo to Conservative shadow culture minister Ed Vaizey MP, who has lambasted Labour for not giving enough support to the UK gaming industry, which he calls a “critically important economic growth area”.
He said that were the Conservatives to win the general election, they would extend the remit of the Film Council to include games, and offer recognition that developers face specific challenges in attracting investment to the UK.
“[The National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts]’s research suggests the UK videogames sector could shrink by 16.5% over five years, resulting in the loss of more than £180 million in external investment and nearly 1700 jobs,” he said during the London Game Conference. “As in so many other areas, Labour ministers simply do not seem to care that we are falling behind our competitors in a critically important economic growth area.”
However, Vaizey didn’t quite promise more cash to beleaguered companies. There is a recession on, you know.
“Gordon Brown’s economic mismanagement means the UK government simply has not had the fiscal headroom to offer the kind of support that has been available in some other countries,” he said. “But just because they cannot offer tax breaks, does not excuse them actively doing down the industry.
“I would love nothing more than to work with you to facilitate the investment and risk-taking the industry needs. We are campaigning at a time when Britain is broke, but this creates an opportunity to shape policies that assist the high-tech entrepreneurs that will drive our economy in the future. The videogames sector must play a key part in this.”