In a press release from the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) (i), Science Minister Sam Gyimah MP said the announcement supported the government’s long-term commitment to raising the level of government investment in public and private sector innovation to 2.4% of GDP by 2027.
The details are set out in a new edition of the Allocations Booklet (ii), which highlights targeted areas for funding, including Innovate UK, a government body that supports business to realise the potential of new technology, developing ideas and making them a commercial success.
The Minster said Innovate UK is to receive £714m this year, £829m in 2018-19, and £926m in 2019-20, in the form of loans and grants. This is s part of a total spend on supporting R&D of £7.57bn in 2017-18, £8.06bn in 2018-19 and £8.70bn in 2019-20.
“Although politicians are mired in the Brexit debate, the government needs to ensure that we keep the pace with our competitors in the global economy. If we take our eye off the innovation ball, the EU, the US and the emerging economies in AsiaPac will forge ahead.”
Luke said that according to the latest data from the ONS (iii), the UK is 11th in the EU league table for investment in R&D as a proportion of GDP.
“The UK must do everything it can to be a destination of choice for innovative businesses, via excellent tax and incentives, flexible labour markets and rewards for successful entrepreneurship. We are a nation of inventors, but we need to ensure our inventions become commercial successes too, and here in the UK rather than abroad.”
He added: “GovGrant is at the heart of the R&D sector. We speak to innovative companies every day, and it’s clear to us that the benefits of State assistance through the tax system are huge.” Luke said that GovGrant has helped its clients claim back over £160m from HMRC, money that is re-invested into the business.
He said: I’m delighted the government has made such a strong commitment to R&D, but it is up to businesses to come forward and take advantage. In the SME space alone, over 80% of eligible companies have yet to claim, and we need to significantly improve the take up rate.”