Yesterday the Chancellor held the budget where he outlined programmes and funds that may significantly impact Bristol & Bath tech businesses. Here’s the scoop…

R&D Tax Credits Expansion

The treasury has modernised the R&D tax credit scheme and expanded the scope of eligible expenditure to include data sets and cloud computing costs. Within a couple of years though, they’re also restricting the ability of companies to outsource their R&D abroad – so people offshoring development needs to be conscious of that. 

Regional Investment Fund

Other parts of the UK like the North & Midlands have long had their investment funds, and now the budget has committed to expanding the Cornwall & Isles of Scilly Fund across the entire SW. This will have £200m to deploy. The current funds are delivered by the British Business Bank with support from various funding streams, including the European Regional Development Fund, offering small business finance, debt finance and equity funding. 

Global Talent Network

Initially in Silicon Valley, Boston and Bengaluru, the new Global Talent Network will work in specific areas of science and tech to identify the skilled talent the UK needs and act as a concierge service to assist and support talented individuals moving to the UK.

Innovate UK Funding

Innovate UK, which are HQ’d in Swindon, have seen a funding boost. The organisation, which runs multiple programmes to develop research and support tech businesses, has increased its core funding to £1bn by 2024-25. 

Regional Angels Program

Another £150m has been announced in the budget to expand the work of the Regional Angels Programme Nationally. This money is a step removed from startups but is helping build and expand Angel networks who then invest in early-stage businesses!

Scale-Up Visas

Although previously announced, the Chancellor gave more information on the new Scale Up Visa. It helps scaling businesses to hire talent from outside the UK. From March 2022, eligible companies (a 20% increase in turnover or staffing for the past three years) will be able to offer visas more easily.

 You can find the full Autumn 2021 Budget here.

Ben Shorrock

Ben has been working to help grow tech and digital business for the last decade. He is currently the MD of TechSPARK the Southwest’s network for tech startups and scale ups working with 25,000 people a month to help them recruit, network and raise capital in the UK’s most productive Tech cluster (TechNation 2019). He sits on the boards of the UK Tech Cluster Group, Bristol’s ONce City Economy Board, Tech Swindon, Tech Southwest and is a co-founder of Bristol Tech Festival. Prior to working for TechSPARK, Ben worked in consultancy with businesses opening new sites internationally. In this role, he helped set up Invest Bristol & Bath and the Netherlands consulate for the north of England.