Kingston gamers set to benefit from tax relief

Kingston high street shoppers could be set to benefit from the government’s recent tax relief on games, but only if potential loopholes are closed.

Gennaro Castaldo, the Head of Press and PR for HMV, believes the government’s plan to provide a tax relief to the UK game industry, could help gamers.

Castaldo said: “In theory this should present an opportunity for the gap between online and store pricing to narrow so that the High Street is at less of a disadvantage to Online as is currently the case.

“HMV will be looking to realign its pricing if it can, not least so that we can introduce some great new services to our customers in HMV Kingston.”

As a part of the recent Budget, the government promised the tax relief to games developers, with Chancellor George Osborne stating his aim to “turn Britain into Europe’s technology centre.”

The news has been received well by many in the games industry, who have been campaigning for the break since 2006 when the UK fell from being the world’s third largest games producer, to sixth.

But Castaldo has warned against potential loopholes that would see small businesses face an impossible task in competing with the major online stores.

He said: “In ending Low Value Consignment Relief (LVCR) from the Channel Islands, the tax relief on online purchases from Jersey and Guernsey, the Government hasn’t necessarily acted against other potential loopholes.

“It’s possible that some Internet giants and supermarkets operating online will simply up sticks and run their fulfilment operations from another non EU territory instead.

“For a lot of independents and smaller chains, who cannot match the vast resources of online retailers, this would be the worst of all worlds, and in our view wouldn’t be in the long-term interests of UK shoppers.”

The true effect of the tax relief, for producers and customers alike is yet to be seen, but Castaldo, who said that HMV Kingston was one of the stronger outlets for games, especially since the closure of rival GAME added: “If the government can ensure that the big online operators don’t simply circumvent their recent changes to tax relief on online purchases, then it could provide a big boost to High Street shoppers.”

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