Businesses must invest more money in R&D, says Prime Minister

Businesses across the UK need to invest more money in research and development (R&D), the Prime Minister has said.

Speaking at the Confederation of British Industry’s (CBI) annual conference in recent days, Theresa May said that the future would be “driven by science and innovation.”

She called on small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) all across the country to be more innovative and “drive up investment” in R&D.

The calls come amid concerns that British firms are falling behind businesses in the US and various European Union (EU) nations when it comes to developing new processes, technology and innovations.

“Today, for every £1 in Government support for R&D, British businesses invest £1.70. But in America, businesses invest around £2.70 and German businesses invest nearly £2.40,” she said.

The comments come a year after Mrs May told the CBI’s previous annual conference that the Government would increase public spending on R&D by £2 billion a year by the year 2021.

Up-to-date research suggests that a surprising number of SMEs who could potentially benefit from tax credits for R&D are failing to do so due to a lack of understanding and awareness of the UK’s R&D tax credits scheme.

In the UK, any business which has developed a new product or service, or pioneered a new innovative process in the past few years could be eligible for R&D tax credits – yet research suggests that almost half (44 per cent) of SMEs wrongly believe that the scheme is only open to specialist science and tech companies.