On Tuesday 28th February Adam asked Chancellor of the Exchequer for an update on the work that they are doing to make Britain a better place for private sector firms to invest.
Adam Afriyie (Windsor, Conservative): I very much welcome this Government’s healthy commitment to scientific spending over several years, but it seems that our business investment in research is below the OECD average. May I urge the Chancellor to examine measures that will increase private company business expenditure on research?
David Gauke (Chief Secretary to the Treasury): As the Chancellor announced at the autumn statement, the Government are significantly increasing investment in research and development, rising to an extra £2 billion a year by 2020-21. We have also made the R&D tax credit regime much more generous. We want to ensure that the UK remains an attractive place for business to invest in innovative research.
Following this the Government has raised the issue of private sector R&D investment in the budget earlier today.
3.12 Research and development (R&D) tax review – The Industrial Strategy green paper sets out the government’s ambition to drive up the level of private investment in science, research and innovation across the economy. The review of the R&D tax regime has found that the UK’s R&D tax credits regime is an effective and internationally competitive element of the government’s support for innovation. To further support investment, the government will make administrative changes to the Research and Development Expenditure Credit to increase the certainty and simplicity around claims and will take action to improve awareness of R&D tax credits among SMEs. The government will continue to keep the competitiveness of the UK environment for R&D under review to ensure that the UK is profoundly pro-innovation.
Other related measures in the budget aimed at increasing research and innovation include:
- Funding for 1,000 additional PhD places, 85% of which will be in STEM disciplines.
- A further £160 million to fund fellowships for early and mid-career researchers.
- A £270m investment in an Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund (ISCF) to kick start development in next generation technologies of the future, including artificial intelligence and automated robotics.
The MP for the Windsor constituency, Adam Afriyie, said:
“Private sector investment is a motor for future economic growth so it is essential that Britain has a simple and generous tax credit system for R&D.
“As the Chair of the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology (POST) I am thrilled to see that the Government is coupling its strong record of direct investment in science and technology with a constant vigilance into the effectiveness of the UK’s environment for private sector R&D.
“The Government rightly points out that we have a highly competitive R&D tax credits regime, but that awareness amongst small businesses could always be better and simplifying the administration surrounding applying for R&D tax credits could increase its uptake.
“Time and time again this Conservative Government has shown that it is on the side of innovators. Coupled with Britain’s strong record in science and technology and world-leading universities, this puts Britain in a very strong position as a research base for the technologies of the future, including artificial intelligence, automation and space.”
- Adam Afriyie is the Prime Minister’s Trade Envoy to Ghana.
- He has a strong background in science, technology and innovation.
- He is currently Chairman of the Fintech APPG, Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology (POST) and President of the Conservative Technology Forum (CTF).
- He was Shadow Minister for Science from 2007-2010 and has a background in the information services and technology sector.
- He is Patron of the Parliamentary Space Committee (PSC) and was Chair of the PSC between 2010 and 2015.