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pictured: Matt Moss, Chairman of the Suffolk Chamber of Commerce Economy Group

The Suffolk Chamber of Commerce's Economy Group convened on October 31st and took a significant step in response to recent concerns surrounding the Government Research and Development (R&D) Tax Credits program. The group unanimously decided to establish a Task & Finish Group with the primary objective of investigating the existing operations of this vital initiative.

R&D Tax Credits play a crucial role in incentivising and rewarding companies that lead the way in innovation within the fields of science and technology. However, in recent months, the program has faced criticism due to extended processing times and a rising number of rejected applications. Notably, Steve Elsom, Chairman of Fiscale, a prominent member of the Chamber and a recognised authority in R&D Tax Credits, addressed the meeting and shed light on the challenges faced by businesses.

Matt Moss, Chairman of the Suffolk Chamber of Commerce Economy Group and CEO of SMART Garden Offices, said: “R&D Tax Credits have over the last two decades been one of the most successful initiatives aimed at helping smaller firms develop innovative solutions that otherwise might be too risky for them to undertake using their own resources alone.

“There must be hundreds of companies in Suffolk, including my own, who have years of successful applications behind them. But because of what is known as ‘volume compliance’ and the recruitment of non-technical staff by HMRC, many of these firms are facing delays or rejections to their current applications – which will have a direct impact of their cash flow in future months and years.”

As a response to these challenges, the Chamber has formed an R&D Tax Credit Task & Finish Group. Comprising several Chamber members, this group has been tasked with identifying case studies that demonstrate the positive impact of R&D Tax Credits and assessing the implications of HMRC's new approvals process and staffing changes on companies' financial stability and workforce planning.

The insights gathered by the Task & Finish Group will be shared with the British Chambers of Commerce, Suffolk Chamber's national body. This information will aid in their discussions with HMRC and The Treasury, as well as with Suffolk's elected officials, including Members of Parliament and Parliamentary candidates. The goal is to foster a better understanding of the sustained economic benefits of an efficient R&D Tax Credits system, both within Suffolk and nationwide.

Additionally, during the Economy Group meeting, an informative presentation was delivered by Paul Sullivan of the British Business Bank, offering insights into the current commercial lending landscape. The meeting also featured updates on the Chamber's Quarterly Economic Survey and engagements with the Bank of England.

Find out more about the Suffolk Chamber of Commerce's Economy Group

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Suffolk Chamber

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