UK’s top 1,000 companies invest £25.3bn in R&D

The top 1,000 UK companies invested more than £25.3bn on developing new products, services and productivity in 2009 − according to the R&D Scoreboard.

The R&D Scoreboard, published by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), is an annual investigation of the top 1,000 UK and top 1,000 global corporate investors in research and development.

According to the report, the amount spent by the listed UK companies decreased by 0.6 per cent in 2009, despite the economic downturn.

The decrease was largely due to lower spend by firms in the fixed-line telecommunications, banking, aerospace and defence sectors, the report found.

It was also revealed that the most active companies − the top 10 per cent of the 1,000 best-performing companies − carried out 80 per cent of R&D.

Globally, the 1,000 companies most active in R&D spent a combined £344bn − a decrease of 1.9 per cent year on year. The 50 UK companies in this group also decreased their R&D investment by one per cent overall.

But the UK is still one of the five leading nations when it comes to R&D. Approximately 78 per cent of R&D occurs in the US, Japan, Germany, France and the UK, according to the report.

UK sectors that increased their overall R&D investment included automobiles and parts, software and computer services, and technology hardware and equipment.

Universities and science minister David Willetts commented: ‘The coalition sees technology and innovation as a key driver of growth. We have set our ambition on creating the most competitive corporate tax system in the G20 and will shortly be consulting with business on the taxation of Intellectual Property, the support that R&D Tax Credits provide for innovation and the potential for creating a patent box in the UK.

‘All of these measures demonstrate that the coalition is committed to making the UK the most technology-friendly country in the G20.’