Spring Budget brings R&D tax relief

Spring Budget brings R&D tax relief

In today’s Spring Budget announcement, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Jeremy Hunt, did not reveal many surprises as expected policies were confirmed.

The Chancellor began his speech by noting that the UK economy will not enter a “technical recession this year” saying that “our plan is working — inflation falling, debt down and a growing economy”.

Cuts to research & development tax credits were reversed along with additional support. For every £100 spent on R&D, companies which are eligible may claim back £27.

Sara Andrews, tax incentives and reliefs partner at HainesWatts, said: “In these uncertain times, innovation is crucial in order to help businesses bounce back and thrive in the long-term. The support from the relief for smaller R&D intensive businesses will hopefully offer confidence for those organisations to press ahead and push the boundaries of their respective industries.

“That being said, we’re hoping for further clarity from the government on what this will actually look like in practice and who will reap the rewards of the support, as we’re still waiting on technical notes to sit alongside the Budget.”

David Ovens, joint managing director of Archangels, added: “These credits will continue to play an important role as a source of cash for early stage, often loss making, companies, particularly in the technology and life science sectors.

“Combined with the government’s plan, unveiled last week, to make the UK a beacon of science, technology, and innovation, there are promising signs that our policy makers are beginning to realise the potential of these sectors to our prospects for economic growth.”

Mr Hunt also said he would introduce an “expenditure credit” at a rate of 34% for film, high end television and video games, and a slightly higher rate of 39% for animation and children’s TV.

Ms Andrews added: “Tax relief for theatres, orchestras, and museums & galleries will stay at rates of 45%-50% for another 2 years, a move which will support the creation of really high quality productions.

The increase to a rate of 34% for Film, High End Television and Video Games Tax Reliefs will provide more support for this critical sector. Over the last few years we’ve seen some of the biggest names in TV and film come to life as a result of the tax relief, from The Crown and Game of Thrones to James Bond. It will be really exciting to see what’s to come in the years ahead with this additional level of support.”

A number of measures were announced to boost employment and regional growth, including investment zones, and changes to the welfare system.

Stuart Preston, partner in Scotland at Grant Thornton UK LLP, said: “The so-called Back to Work Budget has some sensible and welcome measures to stimulate regional growth and investment, while also tackling social inequalities and energy prices before inflation starts to fall.

“The new Investment Zones won’t mitigate the huge hike in corporation tax from next month, though the £1.8bn package of support for SMEs investing in R&D will be welcomed, as innovation is critical to higher productivity and job creation.”

The increase to the annual pension allowance and scrapping of the lifetime cap on tax-free pension savings went ahead. Individuals can now save £60,000 annually tax-free in their pensions, up from £40,000.

The three month extension to energy price cap was confirmed along with continued fuel duty discount.

Kevin Brown, savings specialist at Scottish Friendly, commented: “The government was left with little choice but to keep the energy price cap at £2,500 for another three months to help suppress households’ energy costs.

“From April, families will no longer receive the £66 discount on their bills, so it was vital to extend the cap and help protect families from another sharp rise in costs.”

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