GovGrant, the St Albans-based innovation and R&D tax credits specialist, has welcomed government plans to develop localised industrial strategies, including for Hertfordshire, but has urged ministers to keep their focus on supporting the strategy at a national level too.
Luke Hamm chief executive of GovGrant, said: “It’s a great idea to get local businesses involved, but it must be backed by proper funding so that local initiatives don’t end up as talking shops.”
The plans were announced by Business Secretary Greg Clark MP at the beginning of December. Mr Clark said the local strategies would “will build on unique local strengths to ensure every community, and the country, reaches their economic potential and creates high quality good jobs.”
Luke said that GovGrant was keen to play an active role in helping businesses secure tax credits for their R&D and innovation, which they can re-invest to improve their growth.
“He said: There are generous schemes for R&D, capital allowances (for businesses to claim for investing in plant and machinery), and the local industrial strategy should give our Hertfordshire businesses more exposure to these opportunities.”
He explained that for each pound claimed in R&D tax credits it generates additional GDP between £1.80 and £2.40. “It’s a no-brainer for the government to champion R&D in this way, and I’d like to see us double the number of claims made in the UK every year from 42,000 to get close to 100,000.”
The latest statistics from government show that in 2016-17, nearly 6,500 firms in the South East (which includes Hertfordshire) made a claim.
In its Hertfordshire innovation snapshot, the government highlights £2.5m to support innovation through the Hertfordshire Science Partnership, £6m for the redevelopment of Hatfield train station and £34m to support a package of major projects to help regenerate Stevenage town centre.
Luke said: “For local businesses that innovate, this initiative should be a case of ‘where do I sign.’ We fully support the Hertfordshire LEP and look forward to doing what we can to make Hertfordshire an engine room of innovation in the UK.