This morning I’ve been in Dundee where computer games company Realtime Worlds has this week gone into administration, putting hundreds of jobs at risk.
This follows the scrapping of a tax relief in George Osborne’s Budget without industry consultation or discussion, despite it being vital to keeping thousands of jobs in Dundee and surrounding areas. Ministers should listen to the industry and understand the importance of the scheme in protecting jobs.
The Tory-Lib Dem government is putting the future of the computer games industry in Scotland at risk. The terrible news this week about Realtime Worlds could be just the start unless the coalition government rethinks its decisions which are costing jobs and risking the recovery.
While Labour set out plans to support the industry in March, the new government axed it in June and the result is job losses in Dundee in August. These are the stark consequences of a government which cuts at any cost and seems to think that unemployment is a price worth paying.
As I have heard today this industry sustains thousands of high-skilled jobs that we simply cannot risk losing if we are to secure economic recovery and protect jobs in places like Dundee which were scarred for years by the Tory recessions of the 1980s and 1990s.
The industry, which contributed to £1bn to the UK economy last year, is competing with significant incentives provided by countries like Canada who are seeking to entice companies to relocate jobs there.
It is economic madness to be cutting support for industry and high-skilled jobs at this time. That’s why I am calling on the Tory-Lib Dem government to urgently rethink this decision.
There is an alternative, which is to cut the deficit at a more sensible pace and invest in jobs and growth here in Dundee and across Scotland so we can secure our future prosperity. That is the best way to secure our economic future and to get the deficit down in the long term.
There is a clear lack of strong leadership on this issue at both Westminster and Holyrood – neither government have listened to Labour on what support they can extend to the industry and so protect thousands of jobs.