'Jobs put at stake' after tax cut axed

THE UK government has been branded "irresponsible" after it admitted that it failed to consult with the video games industry before it scrapped a vital tax break last month.

The video games industry in Britain is largely centred around Dundee and is seen as one of Scotland and the UK's most important areas of private-sector development.

It was handed a tax break in March by former Labour Chancellor Alistair Darling to help it compete with competition from Europe and the United States.

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However, this was removed last month in the Tory/ Lib Dem coalition government's emergency Budget.

And in a written answer in the Commons to Glasgow North Labour MP Ann McKechin, Lib Dem Scottish Secretary Michael Moore admitted that no discussions or consultation took place with representatives of the industry before the decision was made.

He added: "The computer games industry is very important to Scotland's economy and I look forward to meeting representatives of the sector when an appropriate opportunity arises."

Ms McKechin, who was until recently a Scottish Office minister, said: "Mr Moore has been caught sleeping on his watch. It is inexplicable that he failed to speak up for one of Scotland's growth industries before his Cabinet colleagues wielded the axe on vital tax breaks which would keep and create jobs here.

"Thousands of jobs are at stake and it is wildly irresponsible of ministers not to discuss the impact of abolishing these tax breaks with the industry before announcing the cut."

The Scotland Office declined to comment last night.