The Minister for Honesty (… that's Ed Vaizey who is low on the food chain he tells Cathy Jamieson)
THE minister for creative industries has admitted he was not consulted over the government's decision to end tax relief for the computer games industry, a move that has put one of Scotland's major private-sector growth areas at risk.
• Ed Vaizey admitted he was 'low down on the food chain'
Ed Vaizey appeared before the Scottish affairs select committee to answer questions on why the computer games industry lost the tax break package in Chancellor George Osborne's emergency Budget in June.
Much of the sector, which is bigger than the UK film industry in the UK, is based in the Dundee area. A tax break was instigated by former chancellor Alistair Darling to help it to take on competition in France, Canada and the United States.But Mr Osborne cancelled it in favour of more general support for business.
MPs were curious to know what input Mr Vaizey, as the minister responsible for the sector, had in making the decision.
However, in a series of exchanges with Cathy Jamieson, the Labour MP for Kilmarnock and Loudoun, it emerged Mr Vaizey was not even consulted.
He said: "Well, I am quite low down on the food chain. Obviously you have a secretary of state for business."
• It was Cathy Jamieson's question that sparked the admission
• What Ed Vaizey said when put on spot by Cathy Jamieson
Ms Jamieson said: "With respect, minister, you have made some play about the fact you are the minister responsible for the creative industries, and I am now concerned that you feel you are so far down the food chain for a very important industry, and that the Chancellor would not take account of what you say.
"If you did not get a result the last time, what confidence, then, can we have that the Treasury will listen to you next time?"
Mr Vazey replied: "Well, I walked right into that one".
Scotland has lost nearly one-fifth of the jobs in the computer games industry since the announcement was made.
Ms Jamieson said: "We have heard warm words from the government on the video games industry, but it is clear from this that it is not a priority. If the minister is not making representations to the Treasury on behalf of the industry, then who is?"
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