According to the latest data published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), UK businesses spent an incredible £23.7 billion to research and development (R&D) in 2017. 

The data also revealed that year-on-year expenditure on R&D increased by £1.1bn (4.9%) compared to 2016.

Firms in the pharmaceutical sector continued to have the highest level of R&D spending of all product groups at £4.3bn. Software development businesses increased expenditure on R&D by 34.7% – taking it up to £1.4bn and took a 6% share of all R&D spending carried out by UK businesses in 2017.

Felicity Burch, innovation director at the Confederation of British Industry commented:

“Business investment in R&D has hit the highest point on record, showing UK firms’ thirst to be world leaders in the products and innovations of the future. But this spend has not been enough to make a dent in real progress towards the goal of investing 3% of GDP in R&D.”

The 2017 Conservative manifesto included a target of increasing R&D investment to 2.4% of GDP by 2027, with a longer-term goal of 3%. However, the ONS said R&D represented only 1.67% of UK GDP in 2016. The upward trend is however expected to have continued throughout 2017 and 2018.

Burch continued:

“As Brexit looms, it’s imperative that the Government sets out an international strategy with clear commitments to maintain the close relationship the UK has with Europe on science and innovation.”

Am I entitled to R&D relief?

R&D relief can be claimed by companies working on innovative projects in the science and technology sectors. If you’re trying to research, develop or advance in your field, you can claim the relief, even on unsuccessful projects. Please visit the website for further information.


How do I get R&D relief?

If you need to talk to an accountant in Berkshire about claiming R&D relief, please feel free to contact our audit and accounts manager, Richard Beasley and he will be more than happy to help.

To read news and blogs from Richard Beasley, click here >>