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Can we save water, pennies and time during the drought?

How do you save water in a drought?

Showers can use up to 200,000l of water a year, cut the time to save money...

Courtesy of The Independent Blogs.

I have to admit that I am a self-indulgent when it comes to showers. There is nothing I like more than to stand under hot water, washing the sticky sleep out of my eyes, preparing for the day ahead. It is also the easiest cure for a hangover.

With the South East and Midlands in a state of drought, I was shocked to learn that my power showers could use as much as 136 litres of water each. Radox estimate that a family of four could use up to 200,000 litres a year in showers, which could fill a swimming pool in less than two years.

The cost is staggering as well. An eight-minute shower every day can cost the average family £416 a year, whereas a power shower not only uses nearly twice as much energy and water as a bath, but could cost consumers £918 per year.

In light of this, they’ve offered a series of tips to save water and money during the drought. But how far are you willing to go to save both water and some pennies?

Some of them seem pretty obvious. Halving your shower time will save on average 45,000 litres of water per year. Every minute less you spend under the hot jets will save 17 litres.

If you are worried about taking an egg-timer into the shower with you, or are unable to accurately estimate the time you spend there, Radox are here to help. They have come up with a shower app that will choose a song of appropriate length for you to shower to – singing is purely optional – so that when the song is over you know you should be towelling-off your intimates.

The one issue with this is, how long do you have to spend in the shower to be clean by the end of it? It’s all well and good using less water, but if you smell like last nights beer and doner kebab you might not be too popular.

A novel idea for some will be turning the shower off when you apply shampoo and conditioner. Radox estimate that a family could save £104 a year if they switch it off when they shampoo, condition and shave.

I remember staying in a hostel in China, where they had the tiniest bathroom I’ve ever seen. What was even worse was that slap-bang in the centre of the shower, was a hole in the ground. Now I’m all for brushing my teeth in the shower to shave a few minutes of my schedule, but the idea of urinating at the same time could be taking things a little too far.

It turns out that consumers in Brazil have also indeed been encouraged to wee in the shower, so maybe it is simply my British sensibilities being tested here.

As well as washing your face and hair, brushing your teeth and going to the toilet in the shower, are we about to see new showers coming with a coffee machine and breakfast bar? What about having your wardrobe in the bathroom so that you could have breakfast, go to the toilet, brush your teeth, and select your clothes, while showering at the same time?

It seems doubtful whether doing more in the shower is actually going to mean you spend less time in there. It runs contrary to the spirit of the water-saving advice, if not the letter.

Once again, consumers are forced to walk the fine line between practicality, affordability, and being environmentally friendly. We have to choose between saving time, money or water, and as DEFRA has officially declared a state of drought these choices could become ever more pressing over the next few years.

One day in the distant future we might be able to have all three at the same time, but for now we are left with these hard choices.

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Is sacrificing democracy for the markets worth the cost?

November 17, 2011 1 comment

We were told the other day at work that it is against health and safety to bring a cup of tea upstairs from the kitchen to the call centre. This is because we could spill it on the stairs (or ourselves), and cause someone to slip. Fair enough, I’m not here to argue against that, but would it be an arrestable offence to take a cup of tea upstairs?

I somehow doubt it.

So I was a little shocked with how innocuous the news was that the Occupy Wall Street camp in New York had been evicted. When peaceful protests are being clamped down on by governments I’d think it would get more coverage.

In less than three hours the camp had been dismantled and cleaned and over 200 people arrested. It was explained that the plans had been drawn up a few weeks ago, but it was only yesterday that Mayor, Michael Bloomberg decided that the presence of the protesters was offensive enough for him to give the go-ahead for their removal.

It seems like Bloomberg has cited public health and safety concerns as the reason that people were evicted, but is it now an arrestable offence to breach health and safety?

Democratic protests are demolished by an integrated ruling elite

As OLSX is threatened eviction, the bankers they campaign against are put in charge in Europe

Like my cup of tea at work, which I continue to take upstairs because I feel that not having a cup of tea at my desk breaches my natural rights, it seems like the rights of protesters are being trampled as equally in the West as they were before the Arab Spring in the East.

Is it behind a wall of health and safety procedures that democracy dies? Is the right to peaceful protest is only available when it’s convenient or if it doesn’t go on too long?

And yesterday the City of London Corporation has re-launched its bid to remove the protesters from outside St Paul’s. Now the protesters are determined to have another go, but with the camps being raided and dismantled across the globe by somewhat surly councillors and politicians, I have my doubts about their likelihood to succeed in achieving anything.

The message from the top, or The US Supreme Court at least, is that our inalienable right to peaceful protest only goes so far as our leaders are willing to let it. This defeats the purpose if our leaders are the ones being complained about. We can protest the war in Iraq, the cuts to tuition fees, anything we like, as long as we are prepared to be clamped down on by the police, or watch our next generation be kettled, or move when the police tell us to.

Last week, the students held another demo against fees, and from the pictures it basically looked like a giant police training exercise in kettling people. The crowd was surrounded by officers, and not allowed to deviate from the path. Any attempt to meet up with other blocks of resistance was nipped in the bud.

Am I the only one who is scared?

And not just because the ruling elite are showing that their silk gloves are actually steel gauntlets, but because the gradual integration of our ruling elite, the media, and the financial sector.

We now have bankers in charge of Italy and Greece, in the shape of Messrs Monti and Papademos. Surely the fall of Lehman Brothers in 2008 showed the inability of the financial sector to look out for any interests other than their own? If not, then maybe the outrage at stricter ring-fencing, or just generally their refusal to make any changes to the system that has made a few billions.

The only thing which used to allow me to sleep easy at night is the distinction between the groups that control our world – the financial sector, the politicians, the media, and religion.

Many could claim that the influence of religion is negligible, but what religion and the media both do is perpetuate the myths our society lives by. Our politicians control the legislation our lives are limited by, and the financial sector moves the money our lives rely on. Separate and monitored, we have nothing to fear, but nowadays politicians are unafraid to be religious, or in bed with the media, the protests are being condemned by priests, and financial leaders are now being begged by the markets they control to take charge of governments.

It should worry everyone that market driven leaders are ending up on our political shelves. We have the right to vote our leaders in – even if as pointed out by Archie Bland in the I Paper: “There is nothing to stop total idiots trying to be leader of the free world.” We did not vote for technocrats, and neither did the Italians and Greeks. Although they say it is in everyone’s best interests, it is in the interests of the markets first and foremost that they have taken charge, and these are what they will protect.

I can only see it as a conflict of interests if in any democratic country the needs of the few are subservient to the needs of the many. But this is what is happening. Our Government is determined to keep the markets happy and Europe is begging technocrats to take charge, effectively breaking the democratic process. It may not be the end of the world now, but it sets a scary precedent. And, even if they sort it out, how do we know that power will filter back down?

We should all be afraid, not just youths, students, trade unionists, protesters, communists and anarchists. As I wrote a few weeks ago, it is the quiet acquiescence of the many that allows a minority of partisans, with sycophantic or selfish interests, to take control. We all have our heads so buried in the sand that we can’t see that the foundations of democracy, our most sacred ideology, are being undermined for the needs of capitalism. Surely it should be the other way round.

 

 

Commuting ‘cheaper’ than buying close to work – but only if you live in London

September 22, 2011 Leave a comment

This was my crowning glory at Thisismoney.co.uk. The press release came in and I spent hours going through the figures, making sure I’d got the data right for the piece, which was published first thing on the Saturday as the lead news story – lucky me.

Thanks, as always, to Thisismoney.co.uk for letting me print it.

Report suggests living outside London and commuting is cheaper for commuters.

Cost saving: Commuting into London is often much cheaper than living in the city

London workers are making big savings by commuting rather than living near work, according to a study looking at house prices.

But the same benefits are not seen around all other major cities.

Commuters living in Home Counties – an hour outside of London – own homes £375,000 cheaper than those in the city.

The study found that with a rail season ticket costing £4,400 a year, commuters from towns like Peterborough and Swindon could afford to travel to work in London for over 80 years with the savings they’ve made on their properties.

The average house price in Reading and Milton Keynes, half an hour outside London, is £275,000, while a property in Central London is £620,000.

Travellers from these locations have shorter journey times and cheaper rail tickets of around £3,100 a year. Their homes – and repayments – are typically 66 per cent lower.

 Residents in Wimbledon and other outer boroughs, only 15 minutes from the city centre, are paying on average £300,000 less for their accommodation, with commuting estimated at only £1,400 a year.

The study by mortgage lender Halifax does not take central London tube fare prices into account.

‘It’s no surprise, for London at least, that the longer your commute, the larger the difference in house prices,’ said Nitesh Patel, a housing economist at Halifax.

‘The decision to commute is not simply a trade-off between financial costs and journey times.’

Social factors such as better schools and quality of homes can explain why commuters would prefer to travel greater distances to get to work.

However, commuters living near other major cities in the UK do not always find the same pay-offs.

In Birmingham, the average cost of housing within the city is actually cheaper than in local towns 30 minutes away. Residents in these towns will be paying an extra £1,500 a year to commute on top of an extra £10,000 on their houses.

Of course, those who bought in the centre of London in previous decades are likely to have seen a bigger increase in the value of their home than those in the Home Counties, with those buyers getting an excellent return rather than pumping their hard-earned money into train fares.

The cost of rail travel is set to increase dramatically next year. This is due to changes in the way increases to train ticket fares are calculated.

Whereas previously fare increases were based on the Retail Price Index (RPI) measure of inflation, with train firms given leeway to add up to one per cent on top, from July this year, train companies are now allowed to add up to three per cent.

With the RPI inflation figure remaining at five per cent, commuters could see their transport costs soar up to eight per cent next year. But, because the rises can be calculated as an average across all fares, this means that some fares could skyrocket, whilst others remain relatively stable.

This week, the Transport Secretary, Philip Hammond, added his voice to the clamour, saying that trains have become a ‘rich man’s toy’, with some fares becoming ‘eye-wateringly’ expensive.

Stephen Joseph, chief executive of the charity Campaign for Better Transport, said: ‘Far from being simply “a rich man’s toy” trains are also vital for many of those on more moderate incomes who need to get to work.’

Original source: Thisismoney.co.uk

http://www.thisismoney.co.uk/money/mortgageshome/article-2038282/Commuting-cheaper-buying-close-work–live-London.html#ixzz1YgrDQVSB

British expats vow to stay abroad despite squeeze on incomes

September 22, 2011 Leave a comment

Here’s another article I did for Thisismoney.co.uk during my time with them. It was a really interesting piece, even though it came from a press release because I had no idea the squeeze on incomes was so tight on our expats. As you ca nsee from the comments links at the botton, it cause a wee bit of a debate, or at least more of a debate than anything I’ve written before has. Made me think about escaping the UK myself.

Thanks to Thisismoney.co.uk for letting me reprint it.

British expats are feeling the financial squeeze

Worth it: More than half of British expats will continue to live abroad despite rises in the cost of living leaving them out of pocket, according to a recent survey by Moneycorp

More than half of British expats will continue to live abroad despite rises in the cost of living leaving them out of pocket, according to a recent survey.

The study, by currency dealer Moneycorp, shows that over 50 per cent of expats say that while they moved abroad for a better standard of living, their incomes have actually plummeted since the economic downturn.

Despite these factors, nine out of ten expats said that they would continue to live abroad, with 25 per cent saying that they would rather move to another country before considering moving back to the UK.

The fall in incomes could be attributed to two factors: the decline of the British pound against other currencies; or the fact that many expats living off state pensions find their income is not index-linked.

 In 2007 an expat could expect to move to Europe with an annual income of £10,000 and see a return of £16,500, whereas in the current economic climate, the same amount would return just £11,000.

As reported earlier this year, in non-EU countries, like relocation hotspots USA and Australia, British citizens’ pensions are frozen as soon as they retire.

This means that a 65-year-old who retired in Australia today on a pension of £102.15 would still be receiving £102.15 in 2028. If inflation in these countries remains constant, then, according to online currency broker Currencies.co.uk, the value of these pensions could drop by half in just 17 years.

John Lawson, of Standard Life, says: ‘Retiring abroad is a dream for many people, but does require careful planning and advice.  Many people think living abroad is cheaper than living in the UK, but this isn’t always the case.’

The Moneycorp survey shows that many British expats are willing to shoulder the burden of lower incomes to retain their lifestyle while 80 per cent said they believed their children’s lives had improved.

David Kerns, Private Client Dealing Manager at Moneycorp said that although many Britons are happy overseas and enjoying a better quality of life, they are suffering from a rise in living costs and wanted to know more about transfer fees when moving funds abroad.

He advised expats:  ‘Speak to currency specialists to guard against adverse fluctuations. By locking into favourable exchange rates for up to two years, expats can protect themselves against the pound losing further value, as well as avoiding potentially costly transfer fees.’

He added: ‘Over a series of payments, these savings can run into the thousands of pounds.’

Original source: Thisismoney.co.uk

http://www.thisismoney.co.uk/money/news/article-2037381/British-expats-vow-stay-abroad-despite-squeeze-incomes.html#ixzz1YgqBgUnb

Starting university? Here’s how to find the best insurance policy for students

September 22, 2011 1 comment

This is a feature I did for Thisismoney.co.uk, the personal finance website and supplement to the Mail on Sunday. It is, of course, with their kind permission that I reprint it here.

Advice for students on getting the best home insurance policy

Peace of mind: Make sure your insurance covers your possessions such as phones and iPods when you are out and about on campus

The common dorm room has changed since the days when a student would turn up with a few LPs and books, a record player and a government grant.

More and more students have laptops or desktops, smart phones and cameras in order to keep up with the demands of their education.

Criminals know there’s money to be made from this equipment.

Liam Burns, NUS President, comments that because ‘the nature of higher education means students need regular access to expensive equipment such as laptops and cameras’ they advise all students to take ‘precautions against theft and damage’ to gain ‘piece of mind’ and ensure they are not left out of pocket.

This may be why student insurance deals are popping up all over the web. So how do you decide which one to choose?

For those who choose to buy insurance, there are two options to consider: whether to extend your existing contents insurance or to buy a stand-alone policy.

 Using your existing contents insurance

Some home insurance brokers will offer student cover within their comprehensive or platinum packages, so it is worth talking to your or your parents’ provider first as you may already be covered.

If this is not the case, then there is the possibility of covering your possessions as an add-on to an existing policy.

Phil Paterson-Fox, head of home insurance at price comparison website Gocompare.com, says ‘it is well worth checking the cover available as it can mean you avoid doubling-up on cover.’   

However, he adds that ‘it is important that you check the policy terms and the exclusions.’ Some insurers have been known to only cover one student as part of their premium or comprehensive policies, so if you have siblings heading off to university make sure to find out exactly how far your cover stretches.

In 2009 Direct Line published information for students wanting to cover their kit. Parents who already have insurance with them could insure any number of children going off to university to the tune of £5,000 with the same full-cover protection offered to their own home.

Getting a tailor-made policy

The other option is to go through an independent student provider, to get a tailor-made policy. There are now loads of websites that offer specialist student insurance:  Cover4Students.com, Saxon and Endsleigh to name the big three.

These all have options to build your own policy, starting from £18 with Endsleigh, through to over £30 with Saxon, underwritten by Aviva, for their Student Shield policy cover.

Endsleigh is recommended by the National Union of Students (NUS) on their website.

All policies cover accidental loss or damage to your property while in your accommodation. But be careful to read the small print because the cheapest deals tend to leave out the very items you most want to cover, like laptops and cameras.

Different add-ons can be purchased to extend the cover to your person during term time, and while travelling to and from university at the start of term.

Know the terms and conditions

One of the main problems with both of these options is that the small print and exclusions may render your policy invalid if you don’t follow them carefully.

For example, if you leave your door unlocked or a window open, the policy that you so carefully crafted could be nul-and-void.

Phil from Gocompare.com advises ‘having a good look at your existing home cover and comparing it with policies specifically designed for students.’ 

He admits that there is ‘good value cover available’ but it always comes with restrictions and exclusions, so be careful.

Although student policies are advertised as uniquely catering to those at university, they may not be the best solution.

Martin Lewis, of Moneysavingexpert.com, warns students not to get bogged down by the ‘student specialists’. He advises parents and students to not ‘think only companies that advertise to student provide for students.

‘There are certainly peculiarities to being a student, but it’s a home insurance policy. The fact that you’re a student is mostly irrelevant.’

He adds, ‘Don’t narrow yourself to the student specialists unless you need to because of peculiarities of circumstance. Make sure your policy is right, and it covers you.’

Gocompare.com has published a list of tips for getting the best policy for you or your child’s time at university.

Student Home Insurance Dos and Don’ts

  • Never assume that you are automatically covered by your family home insurance policy, which may have restrictions outside the room or property. Make sure you check these details in the terms and conditions because it you could unwittingly invalidate your policy.
  • Always make sure your insurance covers what you actually own: the cheapest policies might not cover bikes, musical instruments or personal damages, and especially expensive items will need to be listed separately to make sure they are fully covered.
  • Watch your excess fees. While cover4students.com has an excess of £10 for their basic cover, Saxon charges a £55 excess for its Student Shield protection. Make sure you will be able to afford the excesses and that you know you are comfortable with them.
  • Always make sure you know exactly when your policy is valid to and from. Some insurers like Endsleigh will only provide stand-alone insurance during term-time, so make sure that if you are staying over the holidays that your cover is staying with you.
  • Don’t forget that although your insurer can replace your laptop and iPod, they cannot replace any of the data and files stored on it. It is always worth backing-up your files and important details in case the worst should happen.
  • Shop around, and never go for the cheapest option without making sure it covers everything you need it to cover. There’s no point having insurance cover up to £10,000 if it doesn’t cover your laptop, and the rest of your possessions are only worth £100!
  • The best method of protecting your property is to make sure you never leave any of your valuables visible in your room or vehicle, keep the door locked where possible, and use a property registrar like Immobilise.com to keep a register of all your items, so if they are stolen or lost, you can forward the exact details to your broker and the police.

Original source: Thisismoney.co.uk

http://www.thisismoney.co.uk/money/mortgageshome/article-2038483/Starting-university-Heres-best-insurance-policy-students.html#ixzz1YgrlHlcw

A-Z of the money pages: From making the most of your offset mortgage to rising energy bills

September 22, 2011 Leave a comment

This article was produced for Thisismoney.co.uk, a personal finance website and supplement for the Mail on Sunday. It is by their kind permission that I reprint it.

A round up highlights of personal finance and consumer news from the weekend newspapers.

A round up of the weekends big finance stories

The Sunday Papers

 

The Observer

The Peter Pan generation of adults paid £3.4billion by Bank of Mum and Dad

A report has revealed that more than 13million parents are paying out over £34billion a year in loans and gifts to support their adult children.

The average loan or gift was estimated at £2,480 a year, with the most money being given to adult children between 35 and 39.

Research suggests that £8.4billion was handed-out for mortgage payments, £3.5billion for home improvements, £2.2billion to pay off debts and £1.6billion to pay for education.

Labelled the ‘Peter Pan generation’, the research done on behalf of Sainsbury’s Finance indicates that many children are still dependent on their

Dark days for consumers with two energy rises in a week

Consumers could be facing an expensive winter as five of the UK’s biggest energy suppliers are set to make increases of up to 19 per cent to their tariffs this week.

EON has announced it will raise its standard tariffs for gas by 18 per cent and 11 per cent for electricity on Tuesday. This would see household bills for the year rise by £114 and £56 respectively.

Scottish and Southern Energy will increase standard tariffs by 19 and 12 per cent for gas and electricity on Wednesday, piling £122 and £52 a year on to bills. Only EDF Energy out of the big five hasn’t confirmed its intentions.

Consumer comparison site uSwitch.com advises consumers to move to dual fuel, pay by direct debit and sign up to an online plan to help reduce their winter bills. 

The Sunday Telegraph

Brussels directive to cost jobs

Almost a third of temporary employees could lose their jobs in the run up to Christmas if the new European rules are not diluted a study warns.

The EU Agency Workers Directive comes into effect on 1 October and would give temporary staff the same pay and benefits as permanent workers after working at the company for over 12 weeks. The new law could cost businesses in Britain up to £1.6billion a year.

The study, by Allen & Overy, suggests that up to a third of employers will attempt to avoid the new rules by terminating workers’ contracts in their 11th week. The law firm estimates that up to 462,000 of the UK’s 1.4million temporary workers could be made redundant in mid-December.

The CBI and other industrial bodies warn that unless the UK government moves to dilute parts of the new law, then it couldn’t come at a worse time for the country.

Inflation to rise as energy bills soar

Leading economists expect that a rise in inflation this week will not reduce the chances of a second bout of quantitative easing (QE) from the Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee (MPC).

Annual inflation is forecast to rise on the consumer price index (CPI) from 4.4 per cent in July to 4.5 per cent in August. The retail price index (RPI) is expected to rise from 5.0 per cent to 5.1 per cent over the same period. The figures continue to be unwelcome for the MPC as they continue to fail to meet their 2 per cent target.

The figures will be published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) on Tuesday. With Scottish Gas raising its gas and electricity tariffs at the beginning of last month this is expected to filter through to the CPI in September.

Economists at Investec, a specialist bank and asset manager, have said they expect the MPC to start QE as soon as October because the risks of growth are so severe.

Google chief predicts UK jobs boom

The European head of Google has said that the UK is on the verge of an internet boom that could create over 350,000 jobs over the next five years.

Philipp Schindler spoke out ahead of the Telegraph’s Festival of Business in Manchester where he is a keynote speaker. He commented that even though the current economic climate is tough, internet-related companies and businesses that use the internet successfully were still growing.

The web is responsible for a fifth of Britain’s GDP growth. Economists working for Google based their estimates on the current economic forecasts for growth of GDP in UK and the current rate of job creation that is associated to a rise in GDP.

In light of these figures, Mr Schindler added that the estimate of 365,000 jobs being created was on ‘the conservative side’.

The Sunday Times

Thousands on claims blacklist

A Sunday Times investigation has found that tens of thousands of consumers could find their insurance policies are invalid because they have made inquiries to other providers, even if they never made an actual claim.

All calls to insurers are recorded at a central database known as the Claims and Underwriting Exchange (Cue). The problem arises because many providers don’t check the cue database when an application is made, only when a claim is put in. This has resulted in many consumers being accepted for cover, only to find their policy is invalid when they make a claim, because they are not aware that any claim inquiry (potential loss) has to be declared.

New laws to ban insurers denying claims and cancelling policies for minor and unintentional errors on application are to be debated in the House of Lords next month. These would force insurers to ask clearer questions on the outset.

Your guide to beating inflation

After the National Savings and Investments (NS&I) pulled its popular savings certificates last week the Sunday Times has looked at what alternatives are available.

The NS&I were the only company to offer a tax-free return greater than the rate of inflation and guaranteed by the government.

But companies like the Post Office offer inflation-linked bonds with a three-year return of 0.5 points above the annual change in the retail price index (RPI) and a five-year plan paying 1.5 points above RPI. However the accounts are taxable and consumers do not have the same freedom to withdraw funds compared to the NS&I.

Candidmoney.com has found that potential returns from the Post Office bonds are beaten by those of five-year fixed-rate Isas. The best five-year fixed-rate Isa is from BM Savings, which pays out at 4.25billion per cent, returning £6,157 on a £5,000 deposit.

Make the most of your offset

First Direct and Barclays cut their offset mortgage rates last week to tempt borrowers.

Offset mortgages allow buyers to set their savings against their loans, and by giving up the interest on their savings they make savings on the interest on their mortgage. This could benefit all sorts of buyers including parents, the self-employed, landlords and first-time buyers.

By putting their savings for children’s school fees against their mortgages, and toping it up with income when required, parents with a £500,000 mortgage and £75,000 in savings could save up to £2,625 a year compared to £1,687 in an instant-access account.

Self-employed could hold their as yet unpaid taxes against their loans, offsetting it against their mortgage until the taxes are to paid, while landlords can offset their own mortgage from the rent the claim on other properties.

First-time buyers with wealthy relatives could make savings on their repayments. If a relative offsets £50,000 of savings against the loan repayments would fall from £1,215 a month to £911.

Original source: Thisismoney.co.uk

http://www.thisismoney.co.uk/money/news/article-2036565/A-Z-money-pages-From-making-offset-mortgage-rising-energy-bills.html

Spending Cuts In The Animation Industry (As published in Imagine: the magazine for professionals in the animation industry)

With the release of the Comprehensive Spending Review on the 20th October and the budget on the 3th November professionals have been concerned over how these cut-backs will affect them and their businesses.

The animation industry is so varied that it has been hard to tell how the cuts will affect the industry as a whole. Will the cuts made by the Culture, Media and Sport’s Ministry have an impact on our animation film industry? Do the Business, Innovation and Skills Ministry believe that our high-tech animators, especially in the video games industry, will see any of their £200m planned investment in high-tech industries? Here at Imagine, we asked professionals in the industry how they felt the cuts would affect them.

With cuts set at 25 per cent across the board, the animation industry will be hit hard in more than a few places it seems. Richard Wilson, CEO of TIGA, the trade association representing the UK’s video gaming industry, has been campaigning for two years to try and get games tax relief from the government.

In an exclusive statement to Imagine, Wilson told us that: “We believe that the loss of games tax relief will lead to a decline in the UK development workforce.”

Having worked so hard to get he previous government to add this proposal to the budget talks, Wilson was shocked that the coalition dropped it from their talks this June.

Over the last two years the number of employees in the computer games industry has dropped by nine per cent. Wilson is determined to keep campaigning and arguing with the government to get tax relief for the gaming industry, which he claims could generate up to £415m in tax receipts to the Treasury.

The video games industry is not the only concerned party. In June this year, production companies including Blue Zoo and Aardman Animations, the creators of Wallace and Gromit, banded together as Animation UK called on the government to award them similar tax benefits as those awarded to the film industry.

Their campaign, Save UK Animation, was launched before the coalition announced their emergency budget. Both parties in the coalition proposed supporting the creative industries whilst in opposition, but now the cuts have come and the creative industries are being hit hard.

The global animation industry is estimated to be worth £200bn, but the industry in the UK is worth just £120m. Many professionals in the industry are worried that the cuts will result in the UK’s animation industry losing home-grown talent.

Miles Bullough, speaking on behalf of Aardman Animations, commented that: “If every country took away their financial support then the UK’s position in the international market would strengthen immeasurably because we are so good at it … as long as so many countries provide financial support to their production sectors we are at a disadvantage and we are losing to our overseas competitors.”

Wilson echoes these sentiments. When we asked him if he thought that the rise in university tuition fees to £9,000 a year would put students off studying animation he said he “hoped they wouldn’t” and said that universities in this country that provide courses in animation must be supported by the government in the same way as our competitors in Canada and Korea are.

The light on the horizon seems to be Business Secretary Vince Cable’s announcement on the 25th October that there will be a £200m investment in the high-tech industries. This could allow animators in both the film and games industry being able to claim a bit of government funding, but as Wilson points out, “It won’t simply be the development sector, or the animation sector that benefits from such a fund.”