Rishi Sunak as Chancellor has announced a suite of new incentives for UK businesses to support innovative businesses at this difficult time.

  • Chancellor announces new £1.25 billion coronavirus package to protect firms driving innovation in UK
  • package includes a £500 million investment fund for high-growth companies impacted by the crisis, made up of funding from government and the private sector
  • SMEs focusing on research and development will also benefit from £750 million of grants and loans

The comprehensive package includes a new £500 million loan scheme for high-growth firms, called the Future Fund, and £750 million of targeted support for small and medium sized businesses focusing on research and development.

In particular, the £750 million of targeted support for the most R&D intensive small and medium size firms will be available through Innovate UK’s grants and loan scheme.

Innovate UK, the national innovation agency, will accelerate up to £200 million of grant and loan payments for its 2,500 existing Innovate UK customers on an opt-in basis. An extra £550 million will also be made available to increase support for existing customers and £175,000 of support will be offered to around 1,200 firms not currently in receipt of Innovate UK funding. The first payments will be made by mid-May.

More details regarding Innovate UK can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/innovation-apply-for-a-funding-award

Faster payments on R&D claims

In regard to the COVID-19 pandemic, HMRC understands that many companies require cashflow and as a result have redeployed resources to deal with outstanding claims so that taxpayers may receive their funds as soon as possible.

HMRC has advised that R&D tax credit and RDEC claims, received both online and by email, are to be processed within 28 days of receipt.

HMRC has also advised taxpayers of the following in submitting claims:

  • While HMRC staff members are working from home, claims submitted by email may take slightly longer to process and are therefore advising to submit claims online, if possible
  • Before contacting HMRC by email or telephone for an update on the status of any R&D claim, HMRC is requesting all certified agents to check the company’s online account to determine whether the claim has been processed. Payments processed should be visible on the company’s online account within 24 hours, however, they may then be subject to a further security check

Now is the time for an eligible company to file an R&D claim.

However, before they do, ensure they don’t leave money on the table. 80% of companies that have requested NR Barton assistance had previously claimed internally or had other R&D consultant firms assist in claims and we found that in both cases claims were not maximised due to not identifying all R&D projects, activities, and expenditures.