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3 minute read • published in partnership with Haines Watts

How R&D tax relief could help you join the Fourth Industrial Revolution

Industry 4.0, 4IR, the Fourth Industrial Revolution, Smart Factories – are all buzz words being used to describe the exciting evolution in manufacturing which is taking place across the globe. Haines Watts look at how R&D tax relief could help you join the revolution.

Whatever you prefer to call it, the sector is certainly experiencing something of a revolution with an influx of technology – from 3D printing, robotics, artificial intelligence and nanotechnology to virtual manufacturing, intelligent warehouse management systems – transforming the industry.

The emergence of such innovation is leading to improved processes, superior quality products, swifter responses to customer demands, speedier turn-around times, reduced waste and much more.

Whether it’s a car manufacturer using robotics or a company using 3D printing to produce bikes, innovation can come in all different shapes and sizes, and straddles all industries.

Innovation is not only boosting productivity and precision in manufacturing, it is making it better, faster and safer / Picture: Getty/iStock


It is also changing the way we source materials and suppliers. Digital technology and the use of big data is speeding up and refining production methods, helping employees to become more efficient.

Innovation is not only boosting productivity and precision in manufacturing, it is making it better, faster and safer.

Whereas ten years ago, manufacturers may have been wondering whether it was worth looking into innovation, now most manufacturers recognise that innovation is essential to business growth and that they must embrace it in order to evolve, expand and gain a competitive edge.

Traditional UK manufacturing of two piece handles for woodburning stoves at £16 per set and a six week lead time cannot compete with 3D printed compatible components at $4 per set and a lead time of two weeks.

So it’s not a question of if, but a question of when, for many manufacturers implementing an innovation strategy (very much a case of adapt or die).

But investing in innovation doesn’t come cheap, and in the real world, revolutions in industry are marked with gradual forward momentum rather than instant total, overhauls.

Managers don’t always know how to approach it and may find the process both costly, time-consuming and challenging. Do they radically overhaul their entire processes or introduce innovation gradually, bit by bit?

This all depends on their budget, the areas they want to change, the availability of resources and how much disruption it will bring to their existing production while they switch to more innovative processes.

But there is one avenue which may offer a financial lifeline when it comes to investing in new technology and takes the sting out of the necessary disruption caused.

The average claim for an SME can generate upwards of £57,000 in tax benefit to support further growth / Picture: Getty/iStock


Research & Development (R&D) tax relief is an incentive available to UK limited in innovation by reducing a company’s tax liability or if a company is not in profit, via a payable cash refund which could prove to be a real enabler for manufacturers wishing to embrace new technology.

As long as you can prove you’re solving problems, making improvements to processes and overcoming technological/scientific uncertainties, you could be eligible for the relief.

But the claims process is not easy to navigate and can be quite daunting. Haines Watts R&D North West understands this only too well and aims to help businesses every step of the way.

Its team of specialist tax advisors work with progressive companies in the UK by helping them to fully maximise their R&D tax relief claims and help them grow.

Haines Watts has helped a wide range of clients, particularly in the manufacturing industries, by helping them to put together a robust claim and securing much needed finance to enable them to invest further in innovation.

The average claim for an SME can generate upwards of £57,000 in tax benefit – which enables business-owners to reinvest in innovation, future-proof their companies and, most importantly, ignite further growth.

But Haines Watts R&D NW provides much more than tax relief. With a wealth of business experience, the team works closely with clients to visualise their long term business development and exceed their goals.

It’s well worth having a conversation with the experts to see how they can help your business to develop its innovation strategy and secure much-needed funds to enable your vision to become a reality.

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