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3 minute read • published in partnership with Haines Watts

Beyond Brexit – the support available for innovation in manufacturing

As the government deliberates over the Brexit deal or no deal, many manufacturers are experiencing a period of uncertainty. Terry Cheesman from Haines Watts looks at the latest Industrial Trends Survey and reports that both the Government and EU are reassuring businesses that they are fully committed in continuing support for research and development (R&D).

The latest quarterly CBI Industrial Trends Survey of 270 manufacturing companies revealed that, although output has risen steadily over the last for months, stocks have gone through the roof as companies anticipate supply shortages, not to mention price hikes.

Manufacturers are expecting a decline in export orders and are understandably hesitant when it comes to investing in their businesses. Rather than spend money on improving products and processes and upskilling their workforce, some are more inclined to tighten their belts.

But the UK government and the EU are reassuring businesses that they are still committed to providing support for research and development (R&D).

R&D may involve using CAD tools to develop new products, designing new equipment, creating more effective operations, introducing automation to improve manufacturing processes / Picture: Getty/iStock


R&D is a term used to describe companies’ efforts to innovate and introduce new products and services.

Companies across all sectors and industries undertake R&D activities which enable them to enhance their existing offering and stay competitive in the global market.

For example, in the manufacturing industry, R&D may involve using computer aided design tools to develop new products, designing new equipment, creating more effective operations, introducing automation to improve manufacturing processes and so on.

The good news is, there are rewards available for those who choose to brave the storm and forge ahead with innovation.

R&D Tax Credits are a UK tax incentive designed to encourage companies to invest in R&D. Companies can reduce their tax bill or claim payable cash credits as a proportion of their R&D expenditure.

Further support comes in the form of Horizon 2020, a European funding programme for R&D projects contracted before Brexit which will continue beyond the UK’s separation from the European Union. Lead researchers on those projects need to register via the UKRI portal. At Haines Watts R&D (North West) we have extensive experience in delivering mixes of R&D tax relief profiles when combined with both notified state aid and EU funding.

The Government is currently toying with the idea of creating a UK National Prosperity fund to support innovation in UK industry by recycling money that would have gone to Brussels before Brexit.

And there have been whispers in Westminster that the Chancellor is planning to give the UK economy a post-Brexit boost, to counteract any negative effects on industry. This may include grants for investment in R&D.

So, it’s not all doom and gloom for manufacturers. At Haines Watts R&D North West, we work with businesses across the region and nationally, many of which are in the manufacturing sector, securing thousands of pounds in R&D funding which has given these businesses the opportunity to fund further research and development projects.

Our specialist advisors work closely with companies to help them understand what can be included as R&D qualifying expenditure and to maximise their claim.

Claims can go back two tax years and even failed attempts to improve products or processes can still count as R&D qualifying expenditure!

To be eligible for the tax relief, you need to prove that you’re improving processes, bringing new products and services to market, increasing efficiency or overcoming technological/scientific uncertainties.

It is an increasingly worthwhile exercise navigating the claims process with an expert responsible for delivering 504 claims in the last 29 months alone. Building a robust and adaptable innovation funding strategy, which is responsive to all changes afoot, will help future proof your business.

That’s what we are here for. Our expert team at Haines Watts R&D can help you every step of the way so it’s worth investing in a phone call to see if you are eligible.

To find out more email Terry Cheesman via or call 0161 926 8558 or 0151 227 3463.