My favourite bit of the budget
I understand of course that the budget has been picked over, discussed, supported and variously vilified until, quite literally, the EU-subsidised BSE-free cows came home. However, I just want to add my own two penneths’ worth.
For those of you living in the normal world, where people have names not usernames, Apple is fruit and Larping is just larking spelt incorrectly, the budget has meant controversy over fuel rates, sin taxes and a 5p drop for the highest tax bracket. You’ve been concerned about the cost of petrol, Child Benefit and other grown up sensible stuff. You’ve probably been online and searched for a budget calculator, entering perfunctory details about your income and spending habits to see whether this budget has been ‘good’ or ‘bad’ for you. Just you – your situation, your income bracket, your driving habits and your childcare costs, sod everyone else for the next 5 minutes. Even the most ardent socialist has probably taken a guilt-ridden peek hoping that they (and therefore not their lower/higher earning friends) will be better off living under the Cameron-Osborne regime. This doesn’t make you selfish, it makes you human; to be fair you probably did care a bit about whether your hard-working neighbour’s business will be ok or whether the elderly will still get help during the cold snaps.
All of this passed me by however, at least for the first 24 hours following the budget speech. All I could think about, tweet about, talk about and post on social chat sites was that the Gaming Industry is to get a similar tax break recognition as the Film Industry. Halleluiah. For years it has baffled both the creatives and the creative accountants of the gaming industry that films get financial incentives that the game industry does not. Aside from this being illogical – the gaming industry provides a very similar, more cutting edge form of entertainment and should really have been given equal status in the early 90s – it also made no financial sense to neglect the gaming industry. Last year the global gaming industry had a turnover of £65 billion and the highest grossing game (WoW) made £1.5 billion, with a lifetime profit of over £10 billion, in comparison to £761 million from the film Avatar.
The industry is also adaptive, agile and cheap to start work in – you can become an app writer for less than £50 and spending a few days reading ‘A Dummies’ guide to apps’ or one of the thousands of programming websites. Granted, you could also make short films with a similar financial outlay, however they would not be of the comparative quality of the app. The tech world offers quiet people in their garden sheds the chance to create and engineer, and what could be more British than that? We’re a geographically small nation, with a substantial population of consumers; it is often said that we should look to Japan or Southern California to guide us in our search for an identity in the post-colonial world. I disagree. We should be blazing a trail ahead, taking the ingenuity and inventiveness of British people, the amazing skills that immigrants bring to Britain in search of creative success and run with it. We should be the inventors of tomorrow’s world, just as we have been in the past.
The decision to support the gaming industry represents succinctly the tone of the whole budget – logical, practical, balanced and bold. It shows that we are looking forwards to future prosperity for Britain and providing an industry that will give young people both inspiration and an income. The Chancellor can never please everyone and has a thankless task of actually planning a budget, whilst everyone else is backseat driving; I have spent every budget announcement generally feeling sorry for the Chancellor (save the year Brown took away the 10p tax rate). This year however, I’m breaking with tradition and adoring him instead.