Firms planning to increase or maintain development spending

70% of businesses are planning to increase or maintain their development, according to research by the Confederation of Business Industry (CBI).

Firms invested around £21 billion on innovation in 2015 to develop new products and services, attract global investment and expand their businesses. 

Scientific research (35%) and tax incentives for investment (30%) are viewed as competitive, while the UK is seen as lagging behind in areas such as external partnering with companies (21%) and grant funding (14%).

Further findings:

  • customer service (24%) and product development (30%) are viewed as key areas that would benefit from innovation
  • partnership collaboration (65%), greater technical skills amongst workers (68%) and government support (56%) are top priorities for businesses
  • 44% of firms believe automation could increase productivity, improve product or service and customer satisfaction
  • 48% believe they will need more skilled staff due to automation.

In a speech at the CBI annual conference, Theresa May announced a £2 billion annual increase in research and development by 2020. 

The prime minister, said: 

“It is about the government stepping up, not stepping back, building on our strengths, and helping Britain overcome the long-standing challenges in our economy that have held us back for too long.”

Carolyn Fairbairn, director-general at CBI, said:

“This Autumn Statement comes at a real crunch point to support our inventors, makers and designers, so the chancellor must make the most of the tools at his disposal.”

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