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Research reveals UK firms spent £25 billion on R&D in 2018

27 Nov 2019

Research published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) has revealed that UK businesses spent £25 billion on Research and Development (R&D) in 2018.

The ONS data found that total R&D expenditure increased from £23.7 billion in 2017 to £25 billion in 2018.

The aviation industry saw the largest increase in R&D expenditure at a total spend of £210 million. Meanwhile, the UK telecoms sector also experienced fast growth in R&D spending: this increased by 25.4% in 2018 to £192 million.

The data revealed that the east of England saw the largest growth in regard to the value of regional R&D expenditure. This amounted to £5.1 billion last year.

According to the ONS, the government's funding of firms' R&D totalled £1.7 billion in 2018, which accounted for 6.9% of all R&D expenditure. Machinery and equipment and shipbuilding reaped the biggest benefits from government funding, the data revealed.

Commenting on the figures, Mark Smith, Partner at business consultancy firm Ayming UK, said that the numbers 'are certainly a step in the right direction'. He added: 'We still need to do more to make sure that the UK does not continue to lag behind its European and global counterparts.

'For too long, businesses have not been making the most of incentives, and in many cases this is down to start-ups simply not being aware of what activity they can claim for.'

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