TIGA, the trade body for games developers and digital publishers, has partnered with digital trade body BIMA, to call on the government to launch a training tax relief scheme for small to medium size businesses in the creative industries.
The associations believe the launch of a pilot SME Training Tax Relief (TTR) scheme to promote skills, training, and productivity is vital to support the future of the creative industries, a sector worth £71.4 billion a year to the UK economy.
The creative industries are underpinned by a thriving ecosystem of small to medium sized companies, where training is a critical issue. TTR would operate in a similar way to the existing R&D tax credits.
SMEs would be able to offset expenditure on training, Continuous Professional Development (CPD) for staff and education outreach activities against corporation tax.
Dr Richard Wilson, TIGA CEO, said: “This measure would enable developers and other businesses to finance management training, strategic skill development and promote investment in continuous professional development.
“It would also lead to stronger business-educational links. In the case of the games industry, more developers would have the incentive and resources to provide guest lecturers to universities, contribute to course development, participate in school, college and university career days and make work placements available.”
Although many UK employers do provide training, the duration of this training is much shorter than the EU average. Employers face the hurdles of cost and lost time when training their staff. This is particularly true for SMEs.
Natalie Gross, Chair of Education & Public Policy at BIMA, said: “The digital industry is a major growth sector for the UK economy, in particular SMEs. At the same time, there is not enough trained and skilled talent to enable these businesses to thrive and the UK economy to grow at the rates it could. We believe putting incentives for training into the hands of employers is the most expedient and potent way to move the UK digital economy forward, and tax relief will be a step forward in supporting the engine room of the sector, SMEs, to do so."