Tax boost to nearly £300m of games and Kids' TV


Video games with budgets totalling £290m and almost £4m of children's television programmes have benefited from tax relief rules in the UK.

Figures released by the BFI estimate that since UK rules on tax relief were extended from film and TV to video games in April 2014, 152 video games have been certificated. These games attracted investment from the UK/EEA of £203m and total worldwide investment of £290m. 

In the first full year since the start of tax relief for children's programming, eight children's TV programmes also received final certification. These programmes had a total budget of £3.7m, all spent in the UK.

Certification means games or films have passed a cultural test - typically by featuring a sufficient number of locations and/or characters which are in the UK to be certified as UK products. Games qualifying through the 'cultural test' typically receive a return of about 20 per cent of their development costs.

The video games sector has seen activity accelerate. For example, in the year from April 2014 to March 2015, there were 19 video games certificated with a UK spend of £14m out of their total £15m budget. However, in the year up to March 2016, 133 video games received certification, with a UK/EEA spend of £189m and a total budget of £275m.

Ukie CEO Dr Jo Twist responded to the stats, saying: "These figures show that the VGTR (Video Games Tax Relief) is increasingly popular with games companies in the UK. The huge increase in applications shows how important the relief is to game makers in supporting their creation of fantastic new homegrown content. The high number of remaining interim figures also indicates that more growth is expected, which is great news for the industry."

"To make it easier to report the impact of the VGTR, we would encourage further detail to be provided in future stats releases, especially in regard to a clearer breakdown of the total interim and final certifications. Access to accurate data will allow us to fully celebrate the impact of the tax relief on UK games, and use this data to continue to support the sector when lobbying for future industry governmental support.'

See more about tax reflief for the creative industries here.


Published: May 2016.