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Our Industrial Strategy consultation response

Director & Head of Policy
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Industrial Strategy Consultation Reponse - girl surrounded by illustrated bubbles

The government must prioritise increasing awareness of its innovation incentives for start-ups and refining the research and development (R&D) tax credit system.

We believe this will help secure the UK’s position as the “go-to place for scientists, innovators and tech investors” and have outlined our recommendations to the government’s Industrial Strategy consultation and Industrial Strategy green paper in our formal response.

Read our letter to the government:

Dear The Rt Hon Greg Clark MP,

I am writing on behalf of ForrestBrown in response to the government’s Industrial Strategy consultation.

ForrestBrown is a firm of chartered tax advisers that specialises in research and development (R&D) tax credits. From our headquarters in Bristol, our 47-strong team advises more than 100 innovative businesses of all sizes and across all sectors each month.

When the government announced the extra £4.7 billion R&D investment to help the UK remain an attractive place for businesses to invest in innovative research, we commissioned a survey of 1,000 senior business leaders to understand how they thought this money should be spent, and what impact it would have on their business and the UK’s position as the ‘go-to place for scientists, innovators and tech investors’.

The results of this study, Igniting Innovation, were published ahead of the Spring Budget and have informed our responses to the Industrial Strategy green paper.

We have limited our recommendations to answer the questions set out in pillar one, Investing in science, research and innovation as this is the sole focus of our work at ForrestBrown. We have commented on each of the consultation questions raised in pillar one, however our recommendations are concentrated in response to question five where we have significant technical expertise, relevant client experience and detailed survey data to draw on.

In summary, our key recommendations are:

  1. The government must increase awareness among innovative start- ups of the funding mechanisms available for innovation, through a proactive and coordinated engagement programme with incubators and investors.
  2. We recommend that for R&D tax credits, the government prioritises improvements to the way it administers the incentives. It can do this by improving the available guidance and advice so that businesses are more easily able to identify that they qualify for funding.
  3. We recommend that the government adopts the RDEC (research and development expenditure credit) model for both SMEs and large companies. A headline RDEC rate for SMEs of 40% would maintain a similar level of generosity to the existing incentive and confer SMEs the same benefits of RDEC.
  4. We recommend that the government takes steps to improve the compatibility of grants and R&D tax credits.

I would welcome the opportunity to discuss these recommendations in further detail with you and your team. Should you have any questions, please contact me directly.

Your sincerely,

Jenny Tragner