Home Money RUTH SUNDERLAND: Can the next government win the economic growth game?

RUTH SUNDERLAND: Can the next government win the economic growth game?

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Ready for action: Sir Keir Starmer and Rachel Reeves
  • Rachel Reeves and Sir Keir Starmer say they can balance the books through growth
  • They will have to put rocket fuel into the industries in which the UK excels.
  • The video game industry does not receive the attention it deserves


Ready for action: Sir Keir Starmer and Rachel Reeves

Rachel Reeves and Sir Keir Starmer say they can balance the national accounts without imposing even higher taxes or cutting public spending – through growth.

If that is to go beyond mere wishful thinking, they will need to put rocket fuel into the industries in which the UK excels.

Among them is the video game industry, which does not receive the attention it deserves. This may well be because many politicians are at the Royal Opera House or the theatre, rather than hunched over a console like some of England’s low-octane footballers.

The video games industry contributes around £6 billion to the economy and is the fastest growing part of the leisure and entertainment sector.

But insiders say that in the Department of Culture there are only two people who deal with it. Investment is minimal, with just £3 million going to the Games Fund to support development as the most recent allocation. Abandonment is even less defensible given the potential for equalization and job creation.

According to figures from industry association UK Interactive Entertainment (Ukie), it has 76,000 employees across the UK, with each role generating £113,000 of value, well above the average.

It is a vital part of the creative industries that generate up to 10% of national income. The hotspots extend far from London with centers in Dundee, previously known for its music and journalism, and the fashionable town of Leamington Spa in the midlands of England. The UK video games market is the second largest in Europe and the sixth largest in the world, so we punch above our weight.

The potential goes far beyond the game itself. Ukie estimates around £760 million of ‘indirect benefits’ to other industries, including health, energy, advanced manufacturing, film and television.

Oxford’s Ashmolean Museum partnered with gaming group Ubisoft last year. His interpretation of the palace of Knossos from Assassin’s Creed Odyssey was displayed alongside archaeological finds in an exhibition about the myth of the Labyrinth.

The British Library’s ‘Fantasy’ exhibition is another example of this. Along with the books and manuscripts one would expect were games like Fallen London, set in a dark alternate Victorian version of the capital.

As this visitor can attest, they were both impressive. If the next government wants to boost growth, ministers must consider smartly targeted incentives in the tax system (the UK has lagged behind rival countries in this regard) and also invest in education. Senior figures are calling for a GCSE in digital creativity, which will no doubt upset traditionalists but would actually help young people gain skills.

They also want to increase the UK Games Fund, which supports early-stage game development, bringing it closer to the levels of rival nations such as Germany.

The role of regulators is also important – and controversial. The UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) was accused last year by Microsoft of damaging Britain’s prospects in the sector when it blocked the tech giant’s £60k acquisition of video game maker Activision Blizzard. millions.

Microsoft huffed and puffed that the legitimate concerns raised by the CMA about the deal were a “disservice to UK citizens facing increasingly dire economic prospects”, although it ultimately agreed to changes that meant the acquisition went ahead. anyway.

Hyperbole aside, we will face dire prospects if the next government does not support gaming and the industries where we have real energy, innovation and talent. We will only win the game if we take advantage of our strengths.

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