Belfast Telegraph

Mid-Ulster firms at top of innovation table, say HMRC

Businesses in Mid-Ulster have topped an 'innovation table' after figures from HMRC revealed it has the highest percentage of enterprises investing in research and development (R&D). (Dominic Lipinski/PA)
Businesses in Mid-Ulster have topped an 'innovation table' after figures from HMRC revealed it has the highest percentage of enterprises investing in research and development (R&D). (Dominic Lipinski/PA)
Emma Deighan

By Emma Deighan

Businesses in Mid-Ulster have topped an "innovation table" after figures from HMRC revealed it has the highest percentage of enterprises investing in research and development (R&D).

According to HMRC's 2016-17 figures, 215 successful claims were made by Mid-Ulster companies, including SMEs and large businesses, for R&D tax relief.

This puts the area at the top of a Northern Ireland league table, produced by R&D tax relief specialist Jumpstart.

The table shows the number of claims being made in relation to the number of enterprises in every part of the province.

The 3.49% of all enterprises within Mid-Ulster successfully claiming for R&D tax relief is also the highest among all UK counties, Jumpstart said.

Initial HMRC statistics from last September showed an increase of 800% in the amount of R&D tax relief savings being claimed by companies in Northern Ireland over the last seven years, the highest increase across the UK.

The figures also show manufacturing, information and communication and professional, scientific and technical sectors in the region account for the majority of claims.

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The league table also revealed that Belfast is NI's second most active area with 2.92% of businesses securing successful R&D tax relief claims, the second highest in the UK.

Ian Wolfendale, business development manager for Jumpstart in NI, said: "It shows Mid-Ulster businesses leading the way across the UK in making successful R&D tax relief claims.

"A relatively high percentage of local companies in key sectors such as manufacturing, engineering and IT/software are driving its strong regional placement. Significant numbers of local businesses have been successful in securing R&D tax relief for their investment in innovation to improve operational processes and enhance competitiveness.

"The generous reliefs offered by the UK Government continue to support businesses in achieving these aims.

"The HMR C stats show over £350m in R&D tax relief credits were secured by Northern Irish companies in the 2016-17 period."

Introduced in 2000, R&D tax credits are designed to drive competitiveness in British business by incentivising companies to invest in innovation. Since its inception, Jumpstart said it had helped its clients recover over £140m in R&D credits.

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