The figures, based on numbers issued by the Revenue & Customs, demonstrate that businesses have not capitalised on the R&D tax credits which are available.
Commentators put the discrepancy down to lack of knowledge about the scope of the scheme. Businesses which are not wholly research-based tend to believe that the R&D credits do not apply to them.
The take-up of R&D tax credits in the UK is among the lowest in Europe. Companies in Germany and the Scandinavian states are more familiar with tax credits schemes for R&D and so take-up there is around double that in the UK.
Accountants are also concerned that the British government’s definition of innovation deters many companies from applying for the credits.