The latest figures from HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) have revealed that a total of £4.3 billion of tax relief support was claimed by all sectors in 2017-18.
This figure takes the total research and development (R&D) expenditure by businesses in the UK to £31.3 billion.
This represented an increase of 26 per cent, year-on-year, slightly higher than the increase in the number of claims, which rose by 22 per cent, from 39,960 businesses to 48,635 in 2017-18.
As the numbers went up generally, R&D claims remain concentrated in certain UK regions and business sectors, with 46 per cent of all R&D claims made during 2017-18 from businesses with registered offices in London, the South East or East Anglia.
Over two thirds (68 per cent) of all R&D claims made in the same period were by firms in the manufacturing, professional, scientific and technical, and information and communication sectors. Together, these categories were responsible for 73 per cent of the total amount claimed.
Surprisingly, 40 per cent of R&D claims were submitted by businesses with less than ten years of trading history. It would, therefore, appear that despite ongoing campaigns from HMRC to raise awareness, many firms still believe R&D tax credits to be most relevant to younger companies.
As a result of this, many established businesses may be failing to recognise their entitlement to claim.