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What R&D Tax Credits Looks Like Under Labour


With the UK general election looming, the prospect of a new Labour government brings significant implications for research and development (R&D) tax credits, a crucial element for fostering innovation and economic growth in the UK. Let's look at this in some detail.


The Labour Government - Is a possible shift in R&D Tax Credits on the horizon?

Labour's history with R&D tax credits dates back to their introduction, and the party remains committed to maintaining the current structure if they win the upcoming election. This stability is much needed after a turbulent period of reforms and changes under the current government. Labour plans to introduce ten-year budgets for R&D, providing businesses with a long-term view that encourages steady investment in innovation.

Enhancing Stability and Certainty

Labour aims to foster a more predictable environment for businesses by publishing a business tax roadmap within the first six months of office. This roadmap will outline scheduled changes for the next parliament, enabling businesses to plan their investments with greater certainty. Additionally, KPMG stated that Labour intends to trial advanced rulings and clearances for major investment projects, reducing the risk of unexpected tax treatment changes.

Aligning with Broader Goals

Labour's strategy also includes aligning R&D tax credits with broader scientific missions and sustainable growth objectives. They propose establishing a new Regulatory Innovation Office to support these activities, ensuring that R&D efforts are not only innovative but also contribute to national and global priorities. This office would oversee the implementation of policies designed to encourage sustainable and impactful research.

Labour will introduce a new Regulatory Innovation Office, to help regulators update regulation and speed up approval timelines. Labour is also committed to upgrading HMRC, which will delight those impacted by the ongoing R&D Tax Credits debacle.
Dom Hallas, Startup Coalition

Business and Industry Reaction

The reaction from the business community, particularly the tech sector, has been largely positive. A survey by Ayming UK found overwhelming support for Labour among tech firms, with many businesses citing the party's commitment to driving innovation and providing stability as key factors. However, there remains some skepticism about the details and implementation of these policies.

Addressing Recent Challenges

The UK's R&D landscape has faced several challenges recently, including aggressive compliance measures from HMRC and a complex application process for R&D tax credits. Labour's commitment to maintaining the current R&D tax credit structure aims to mitigate these issues and provide a more stable environment for businesses. Additionally, Labour plans to evaluate the impact of R&D tax relief on a sector-by-sector basis, starting with the life sciences industry, to ensure the scheme effectively supports high-growth sectors while minimising fraud and errors.

The Broader Economic Strategy

Labour's broader economic strategy includes maintaining the current 25% corporation tax rate, reforming the Apprenticeship Levy into a more flexible Growth and Skills Levy, and replacing business rates with a new system of business property taxation. These measures are designed to balance public finance needs with the demands of a competitive global economy, encouraging businesses to invest and grow within the UK.


The upcoming UK general election will be pivotal in shaping the future of R&D and business investment in the country. Labour’s plans promise a more stable and strategically aligned approach to R&D tax credits, fostering an environment where innovation can thrive. By providing long-term stability and aligning R&D efforts with broader goals, Labour aims to enhance the UK's position as a leader in innovation and economic growth.

In summary, while challenges remain, Labour’s proposals offer a comprehensive roadmap for a more innovative and productive UK. Businesses can look forward to a supportive regulatory environment and long-term planning, which are essential for driving sustainable economic growth and enhancing the country's global competitiveness.

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