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Opinion: Tax: give us a break

Steve Boxer runs an Unbiased eye over tax breaks for games

So. Alastair Darling's hilariously ill-received Pre-Budget Report tells us that British developers aren't going to get the modest tax-breaks they need to remain competitive with the rest of the world. Isn't that a surprise? New Labour had a chance to include just one proposal in the PBR which would cost little, bring one of the few industries in this country which punches above its weight closer into line with a host of other countries that throw money at that industry (and into line with the financial minnow known as the UK film industry) and which would actually earn it a modicum of praise, but it blew it. Who'd have thought it?

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The UK industry could do with a litle light relief

OK, we're being disingenuous: we're as aware as you are that we currently suffer under a rabble which, perhaps more than any other British government since the time of Henry VIII, is conspicuously unable collectively to find its arse with both hands. Gordon Brown clearly couldn't organise a chimps' tea-party, and is so unacquainted with anything approaching real life that he manages to make an Old Etonian appear human and down wiv da kidz.

And at least next year, they'll be able to concentrate on flipping their second-home allowances, but will the Tories finally safeguard the British development industry from its inexorable slide towards being a British iPhone game development industry (apart from those developers which are owned by foreign publishers)? It would be nice to think so: at least MPs like Ed Vaizey and Tom Watson know what a videogame is.

The whole debacle illustrates the problem with our current crop of politicians: they come across as though they were beamed down from another planet. Politicians are like policemen: the only people who want to join the profession are exactly the ones who shouldn't be allowed to. If only they'd developed serious PlayStation addictions, they might not have become such freaks.

Apparently Tiga's proposal was rejected by the Treasury because it didn't believe the accompanying evidence and didn't think the figures added up - just a tiny bit rich coming from a department headed by Alastair Darling. Eidos' Ian Livingstone once asserted that the issue was a classic case of: "Putting on a new roof while the sun is still shining". But it's clear that New Labour would never contemplate putting a new roof on anything until we're all forced to live in Fallout 3-style underground bunkers. Let's give them an appropriate send-off in 2010, eh?

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