The Autumn Budget had a lot to benefit technology and innovation, says Sue Staunton, who heads up accountants James Cowper Kreston’s technology team in Oxford.
Highlights for the technology sector across the region include an increase in the Research and Development Expenditure (RDEC) tax credits scheme for larger companies for expenditure incurred after 1 January 2018. However, the SME R&D tax credit scheme will remain the same. For companies which are truly innovative, the annual investment they can receive through the Enterprise Investment Scheme will double to £10 million.
The Government hopes to make the UK a leader in the development and deployment of digital technologies. It plans to establish a new centre for Data Ethics and Innovation, to lay the foundation for the adoption of advanced intelligence (AI). Amongst other measures, the Government will fund 750 PhD researchers in this field.
It also plans to set up a Regulators Pioneer Fund of £10 million to help regulators develop innovative approaches aimed at getting new products and services to market.
Investment of £21 million over next four years will aid the expansion of Tech City UK’s reach to become Tech Nation and support regional companies and start-ups.
A further £1million will extend the UK’s Games Fund until 2020 – aiding access to finance and business support for early stage video game developers. The Government also plans to enable fully self-driving cars to be on UK roads by 2021.
The Budget alsopromises long-term support for science and innovation. The £4.7 billion Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund investment announced in the Autumn Statement 2016 will grow by a further £2.3 billion of additional spending in 2021-22.
An action plan was announced to unlock over £20 billion of patient capital investment to finance growth in innovative companies over 10 years.