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Tue June 15 2021

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Construction innovation in decline

2 Apr 20 The proportion of UK construction companies actively involved in innovating has fallen from 44% to 33% in the past couple of years, according to official statistics.

Data published by the Office National Statistics shows that 44% of companies across the construction industry were classed as ‘innovation active’ in the years 2014-16. But in 2016-18 this fell to 30%.

No other industrial sector saw a larger fall in innovation activity than construction.

The UK Innovation Survey is carried out on behalf of the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS).

Mark Tighe, chief executive of R&D tax relief specialist Catax, said: “It’s a concern that companies are investing less in innovation at a time when Britain needs to be making the most of its new-found freedom post-Brexit. Research and development is the secret ingredient that will give our businesses a boost now that we’ve left the European Union.

“Lack of personnel, high cost and Brexit uncertainty will all be, in part, to blame but the number of businesses blaming their lack of research and development on its expense should investigate whether they are eligible for R&D tax credits. Most companies find that innovation pays for itself many times over once they start exploiting the government help available to them.”

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