Autumn Budget 2017

We take a look at some of the announcements made in the Autumn Budget by Chancellor, Phillip Hammond, on Wednesday, that are likely to have an impact on innovation and intellectual property in the United Kingdom.

National Productivity Investment Fund (NPIF)

Launched in the 2016 Autumn Statement, the National Productivity Investment Fund (NPIF) was created to provide additional investment in housing, infrastructure, and research and development (R&D). In this budget, the government has increased the size of the NPIF from £23 billion to £31 billion.

The budget also confirmed that the £4.7 billion of NPIF investment in science and innovation, also announced in the 2016 Autumn Statement, will grow by a further £2.3 billion of additional spending in 2021-22. This will take total direct R&D spending to £12.5 billion per annum by 2021-22.

The government’s Industrial Strategy White Paper, yet to be published, will provide further detail on what this will support, including:

  • support for creative and digital industries by developing pioneering immersive technology for creative content, and launching a new AI and machine-learning programme targeted at the services sector
  • £170 million for innovation to transform productivity in the construction sector
  • new support to grow the next generation of research talent and ensure that the UK is able to attract and retain the best academic leaders globally

Research and Development (R&D) Expenditure Credit

The government will increase the rate of the Research and Development Expenditure Credit (RDEC) from 11% to 12% with effect from 1 January 2018. This will increase the amount of tax relief available to companies using the RDEC scheme.

The RDEC scheme is typically utilised by larger companies who do not qualify for the more generous R&D scheme for SMEs.

There have been no changes made to the current R&D scheme for SMEs, which continues to offer a tax deduction of 130% on qualifying costs.

Corporate tax and the digital economy

In a position paper published alongside the Budget, entitled ‘Corporate tax and the digital economy’, the government proposes reforms to the international corporate tax system to update it for the digital age. One of the proposed reforms is to take action to prevent multinationals, primarily those in the digital sector, ‘from gaining an unfair advantage by locating IP in low or no tax jurisdictions’.

The government will consult on its proposed measures. Any changes are expected to come into effect in April 2019.

Intangible fixed asset regime consultation

The government is planning to consult on the tax treatment of intellectual property (the Intangible Fixed Asset regime) in 2018. This will consider whether there is an economic case for targeted changes to this regime, so that it better supports UK companies investing in intellectual property.

To read the full Autumn Budget, click here.

If you have any further questions about these announcements, please get in touch with one of our attorneys.

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