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UK politicians clash on video games tax

Lib Dems cite RTW closure; Labour says jobs will go

Labour and The Coalition Government clashed over tax relief for British video games studios on live TV earlier today.


Speaking on the BBC Politics Show, Labour Shadow Minister for International Development Gareth Thomas claimed that the Tories and Liberal Democrats were putting jobs at risk unnecessarily by scrapping the scheme.

Liberal Democrat MP Tom Brake cited APB creator RealTime Worlds as an example of the insecure nature of the industry. He suggested that Labour hadn't truly "costed" for games tax relief when in office.

Brake said: "It was going to cost £192 million. The Government [has to be] well placed to pick winners... In the game industry, we've just seen RealTime Worlds in Scotland - responsible for Grand Theft Auto - has gone put of business... We need to make sure the infrastructure is strong [before investing in a sector]."

Brake's advisers could do with a little assistance, it seems: RTW founder Dave Jones was involved in the creation of the original, top-down GTA whilst at DMA Design, but has long since been disconnected from the Rockstar series.

Labour MP Thomas said that there had been a "whole series of British jobs created by the games industry in the UK", but that due to the lack of a tax credit, there was now a "question mark that jobs created can now be maintained".

Brake countered that the tax relief was a "another spending commitment made by Labour that was uncosted" and said that the Opposition's claim to be able to put the tax relief in place but still cut 20 per cent of state spending "doesn't add up, I'm afraid."

Labour pledged that video games studios would be given a subsidy in line with the UK film industry as part of its March Budget - a decision backed by leading Tories.

However, Coalition Chancellor George Osborne ruled out the move as part of his first spending review in June.

Prime Minister David Cameron this week admitted in Parliament that it had been a "difficult decision", but ruled out a U-turn.

Today's Politics Show London was broadcast live from the MCM Expo in London.

At one point, a giant Darth Vader stomped around behind both MPs. They pretended not to notice.