Screen Shot 2015-07-01 at 12.01.37The latest Government statistics published on Friday show that the number of claims for Research and Development (R&D) tax relief by businesses in the North East has risen by 24% since last year.

The figures show that despite this significant increase, the North East still made proportionately less claims than other regions with the third lowest number of claims.

First introduced in 2000, R&D tax credits were designed as a tax relief to encourage greater R&D spending and innovation. Since then, almost 120,000 claims have been made, with more than £11.4bn claimed in tax relief.

Recognising their popularity and in a bid to further boost innovation, last year the Chancellor announced an increase in R&D tax credits to 230 per cent. This means that for each £100 of qualifying costs, the corporation tax paid by SMEs could be reduced by up to £46.

Stuart McKinnon, Baker Tilly Tax Partner in Newcastle said: ‘This increase in figures shows that confidence is beginning to return to the local economy. We know the Northern Power House is on the top of the Government’s agenda, and this may be helping to build confidence in businesses in the region. However the North East is still making significantly less claims than other regions so there may be some work to do at getting the message out there that these tax credits are available.’