Last week, the UK Government released their Industrial Strategy Report which detailed the methods in-which they could provide support for its businesses. The protocols outlined were intended to address obstacles including regulation, foreign trade, and supporting the growth of institutions that encourage innovation and skills development.

One of the main purposes of the industrial strategy is to stimulate the productivity of the manufacturing industry which has stagnated since the 2007 economic downturn.

One of the 5 main foundations of productivity summarised in the report was investing in ideas and innovation. The government proceed to state their desire to shift a greater focus onto research and development (R&D) within its engineering and manufacturing sector.

This was demonstrated by their target to increase investment from 1.7% to 2.4% of national GDP by 2027. This lofty ambition could generate approximately £80bn of additional funding in innovation.

Furthermore, the government are also increasing the rate of R&D tax reliefs to 12%. This tax break benefit businesses that performs specific advances in sciences or technology (i.e. not social sciences nor theoretical fields such as economics and mathematics, respectively). The main benefactors from this R&D tax relief increase are small-to-medium enterprises (SMEs) as they were identified as the source of 83% of claims according to a treasury spokesperson.

This could be a huge opportunity for New Anglia as 99.6% of businesses across Norfolk and Suffolk have between 1-249 staff (i.e. are SMEs). Encouraging manufacturing and engineering businesses in the region’s sector could improve the New Anglian local enterprise partnership’s (LEP) ranking in innovation statistics in comparison to other LEPs across the country.

 

New Anglia LEP has the following innovation statistics:

  • 23rd out of 38 LEPs for process innovation.
  • 24th out of 38 LEPs for employment in STEM.
  • 33rd out of 38 LEPs for funding from Innovate UK.
  • Joint 36th out of 38 LEPs for percentage of new or significantly improved products introduced to the market between 2010 – 2012 (14% in comparison to the national average of 19%).
  • 16% of firms collaborate for innovation (in comparison to the national average of 23%).

The New Anglia Growth Hub have been offering support for SMEs seeking businesses support through their R&D tax reliefs web seminars and more. Click here to visit New Anglia Growth Hub’s website and find out more about how they grow businesses across Norfolk and Suffolk.